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Technology at the service of dispute resolution 

Arbitration disputes continue to arise although the COVID-19 outbreak has delayed or suspended proceedings all over the world. To minimize further disruption, many institutes and associations have sought new paths to resolve such disputes by using online dispute resolution (ODR). 

This decision is especially necessary given that COVID-19 has placed many cities around the world on lock down and has therefore temporarily shut down the arbitration institutes and associations.

ODR does not require its users to be in the same room, which means that users may access the platform to file claim, negotiate and follow up on a procedure anytime and from anywhere entailing that no party is advantaged or disadvantaged by their temporal closeness or remoteness to court. Moreover, remote hearings, which avoid travel time, expenses, and other fees associated with in-person hearings,  are more efficiently scheduled and less costly for the parties. 

In the beginning there might have been concerns whether one would be able to effectively present a case without in-person interactions. But as most of us have experienced during the pandemic, we can easily function in an online setup and learn to master this discipline. 

While, there is still a way to go before fully reaping the potential of ODR, eArbitration attempts to move justice systems one step forward by allowing arbitration institutes and associations to integrate ODR tools into their offering. This may pave the way for further digitalization and simplification of the justice system by providing user confidence that ODR mechanisms can provide justice. 

To read more about this topic we encourage you to read Mirèze Philippe’s paper “Access to Justice Through Online Dispute Resolution Is Not Science Fiction: A Practitioner’s Perspective on the Good, the Bad and the Future”, which can be found here.