Magazine article Dispute Resolution Journal

ADR Spawns ODR in Cyberspace

Magazine article Dispute Resolution Journal

ADR Spawns ODR in Cyberspace

Article excerpt

ADR Spawns ODR in Cyberspace

Online Dispute Resolution: Resolving Conflicts in Cyberspace. By Ethan Katsh and Janet Rifkin. San Francisco: jossey-Bass (www.josseybass.com), 2001. Hardcover. 226pp. $34.95.

This book suggests that someday the acronym ODR is likely to be as popular as the term ADR. Indeed, ODR or online dispute resolution could be the ADR of the future if it proves to be as effective as traditional arbitration, mediation, and other alternative dispute resolution methods. For as the authors say, if ADR moved dispute resolution out of court, ODR moves it further away from court.

In writing this book, the authors have the advantage of using their experience in an ODR project for eBay, the online auction site. They discuss the nature and history of ODR, the impact of new technology in the dispute resolution process, and the challenges facing ODR. They describe early ODR programs and existing ODR providers and their services.

The authors say right off the bat that ODR is not meant to replace face-to-face dispute resolution methods. Rather, ODR could make a world of difference in resolving cases that involve parties who simply cannot meet face-- to-face. It has also proven handy in simple cases that involve low-- dollar claims, such as disputes over purchases made online, and in other cyberspace-based cases, such as conflicts over domain names.

"ODR is a dispute resolution that takes advantage of the Internet, a resource that extends what we can do, where we can do it, and when we can do it," the authors write.

They point to the following factors as among the reasons why ODR is likely to grow in the future: rapid increase in online commerce and transactions, heightened interest of traditional ADR institutions in ODR, significant venture and private financing of a number of online dispute resolution companies, evidence of capability of conducting ODR on a large scale, and greater acceptance by online and offline marketplaces of ODR both in settling disputes and as a mechanism for building trust. …

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