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Rechtijzer v Traditional Mediation

Rechtijzer v Traditional Mediation

How does Rechtwijzer overcome many of the problems which plague traditional mediation?



Full Transcript

What we have done on the Rechtwijzer 2.0 application is, to put it simply, we’ve merged several different processes into one another. So, we started looking at the actual behaviour of people when they experience a dispute, and we see that across disputes, across jurisdictions, this is pretty similar. We notice, because of the Paths to Justice type of research that has championed by some of your fellow Brits, like Hazel Genn, Pascoe Pleasence, people like them who did a lot of quantitative studies as to how people will actually behave when they have a legal problem.


We know that, I would say, safely, all over the world, people will generally first look for information about whether the problem they have actually is a problem that they can take action on. They will typically start talking with neighbours, friends, relatives, browsing the internet and gathering a lot of



If they have information and they feel, yes, this is a legal problem, they will typically contact the other person and try to have a conversation about this, a dialogue. If this does not work, they will escalate towards calling on the assistance of a third party, maybe. Only 5%-10% of these people end up in court eventually.


So, this gradual escalation, these different phases are basically the phases that we have in the Rechtwijzer from the dialogue, to the mediation, to the adjudication. We’ve merged them into one process, because for users, it is all about their problem, and they don’t think in terms of these fixed

processes that people like you and I think about. Thinking about all the different rules, the different processes and how important that is, they don’t see it like that. They just see their problem and they shop a bit around, finding ways that are effective.


Mediation, I think, is a beautiful product and still, it never really got the market share that the quality and the beauty of the product implies it would get. One of the reasons for that is what we call “the submission problem.” I think your fellow Brit, Dame Hazel Genn, said once, “Mediation is the sound of one hand clapping,” expressing that what mediation requires is that when people already are in a dispute, you want them to agree to choose mediation to choose the specific mediator. In that context it’s very difficult to agree upon such an issue. If you’re in a dialogue or a negotiation with each other and you find out it doesn’t work, it’s difficult to agree that you’ll go to a mediator. Not everyone can do that.


So, what we did with the Rechtwijzer is really, from the very beginning, took away the blocking power of one party. So, if people opt-in on Rechtwijzer from the very beginning, they express that they will co-operate with mediation, with the adjudication if that would be needed later on in the

process. But at the very beginning, we want them to opt in to these options. So, what this does is we take away the power of either one of the parties to block it, to say, “No, we’re not going to mediation now at this stage, where we cannot have a decent dialogue, or effective dialogue together anymore.”


So, that’s one attempt that we do to solve this submission problem. We do that by merging these processes into one process that’s very gradual. You will encounter, indeed, the considerations of privacy in mediation processes. But that’s innovation, trying these new things to see if these work better for the users in the end.

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