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Using a Human or Computer Mediator

Using a Human or Computer Mediator

Is the online mediation on the Rechtwijzer platform done by a human or a computer?



Full Transcript

They are human interventions. Let me briefly tell you what the different phases of the Rechtwijzer application are. What the Rechtwijzer 2.0 does is it focuses on separation and therefore divorce firstly. We still provide a similar diagnosis element as we had on Rechtwijzer 1.0.


If people decide that they want to get a divorce and they want to use Rechtwijzer for that, we help them through a very problem-solving, interest based intake, which lets them reflect on the different interests that are involved on their end, but also from the partners end and from the children’s end. We let them reflect on their initial ideas for solutions and agreements that they would like to make. This way, we provide them the type of structure that keeps them away from a rights-based attitude.


After this intake has been completed by both of them, they end up in what we call “the dialogue phase,” this is really an interface where they can work together, talk together, build agreements together with the self-help tools, with the model solutions, with the strong focus on their interests. If they get stuck, and we imagine that many of the people will get stuck for, at least, some of the issues they can call in the mediation assistants.


With a click of the button, we provide unbundled mediation services if they want. It’s really mediators who will focus on specific issues. The specific issues that parties indicate that they want their support for, they will work for a fixed fee. So, people have to pay for the mediation intervention, but they won’t pay €150 for an hour. No, they will pay a sum of money that will give them the mediation that they need as long as it’s fruitful. In this way we feel that many more people will be able to settle many more issues, but maybe not all still.


So, we have a similar intervention which we call “Adjudication” and it’s basically family law experts who acts as a neutral and takes a neutral decision, which is experienced as very binding for the parties. Again, this is a fixed fee. People will pay for this when they call upon it, so it’s also pay as-you-go as a model. It’s also unbundled again, so they will provide decisions only for the issues that parties ask for decisions for.


We feel that with the dialogue interface and with the mediation intervention and the adjudication intervention, many people will be able to come to a fully-fledged separation plan. We also see that in disputes like these, there might be power differences, or people might be misinformed. There might be any other form of information asymmetry.


So, what we have decided as a compulsory step is that once there is a full separation plan, a neutral reviewer, a family law expert again, will review the whole separation plan and assess whether there is no outcomes that seem the result of power imbalances or coercion, or people making emotional decisions.


So they will look for equity, legitimacy, the balance overall, to provide this extra check and to protect people from mistakes that they may not want to make in the end. So, that’s an extra equality assurance towards our users. I strongly feel that the Rechtwijzer 2.0 platform, it’s not an automated algorithm-based super machine. It’s an application that empowers people, and 50% of the empowerment probably comes from technology, and 50% of the empowerment probably comes from the service providers who we work with.


In that way, we’re also not seeing ourselves as threatening the legal profession. Essentially what we do is we create a new channel for service delivery for these same legal professionals.

About the mediator

Jin Ho Verdonschot Profile Pic

Jin Ho combines expertise from dispute system design, access to justice, UX/UI design, and (online) dispute resolution. He helps courts and other justice sector organisations to update and innovate their procedures and justice processes. For the past 8 years, he has been utilising technology to build better user interfaces for the justice system. Jin Ho initiated, designed and implemented several IT based justice applications in both the ... View Mediator