An Exploratory Analysis of the On-Line Dispute Resolution Mechanism

An Exploratory Analysis of the On-Line Dispute Resolution Mechanism

Panagiota-Aikaterina Sidiropoulou (Middlesex University, UK) and Evangelos Moustakas (Middlesex University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-789-3.ch010
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The 21st century is being characterized as the century of evolution for information technology, communication technology and electronic communications. Contemporary society does business using the internet; the forthcoming ‘dispute resolution space’ (Katsh and Rifkin 2001), where people buy and sell regularly and even a large number of corporations have existence via an internet address. This excitement for further improvement of dispute techniques, in relation to the exploitation of those technologies used for the management of online virtual communication led to the appearance of the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) mechanism. The choice for settlement of disputes through the modern mechanism provides an easement for interested parties to tackle their disputes from any place and at any time through e-mails, video conferencing or chatrooms, instead of being in courtrooms. The fact that the business’s transactions are conducted on the internet causes uncertainty, regarding the security of personal data and business secrets in combination with the lack of a framework that could have supported such scheme. For that reason, the role of Government is taken into consideration in the accreditation of service providers, as well as in the settlement of e-administrative disputes and the securing of e-transactions in general. The necessity for self-regulation, equality of digital divide and government’s recommendation for ODR tools is discussed. The current chapter will identify and explore considerable notions, concepts and debates for moving towards the development of an international dispute resolution framework on-line and trustful mechanism internationally.
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The Rationale Of Odr

Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler and Thomas Schultz (2004 p.5) wrote that the common reasoning in this field is to reconstruct an architecture online that resembles offline negotiation and mediation. While Katsh and Rifkin (2001) argued that the most valuable challenges are not to use the internet to duplicate the offline dispute resolution or face-to-face environment, but to expand thinking and look for ways that dispute resolution expertise can be of value online (Brannigan 2003). In addition, Online ADR should focus on using the network in ways that maximize the power of technology, power that that may be missing in face-to-face encounters (Katsh 2000 p.6). In 2003, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Forum on ODR explained that the rationale behind the early ODR programs was to leverage the cost-efficiency, accessibility, detemporalization and depersonalization of online interaction while preserving all of the procedural advantages presumed to be perfected in existing forms of face-to-face dispute resolution (Choi 2003 p.1). Namely, these services were focused on the settlement of e-commerce disputes, by ‘mimicking’ face-to-face dispute resolution processes in cyberspace. Later on, disputes that were impossible to be settled within courtrooms, such as those relating to data protection, privacy matters, defamation came into sight as ‘excellent candidates’ (Choi, 2003) for ODR.

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