Technology That Facilitates Negotiations

July 16, 2020 by Sandy Peters

Technology That Facilitates Negotiations

Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) is a technology that has been used successfully for more than ten years. It was developed to help resolve disputes through automation with limited human intervention for companies like eBay and PayPal. As online commerce has exploded over the last several years, so have disputes related to those transactions. Many of these companies had more disputes than they could handle and out of that need, ODR was born. Using technology has proven very effective in helping these companies resolve many of these disputes quickly, effectively, and cost efficiently. As the technology continues to evolve, the question is can ODR be expanded to handle negotiations in certain court cases?

Let’s look at civil cases, for example. Negotiations in these cases can be tricky. They often involve people on one or both sides that are emotionally involved in the potential outcome. Negotiating usually involves two parties meeting in the middle. Emotions very rarely play a positive role in the process of negotiations.

Civil cases involve multiple parties which adds complications and can cause these cases to take weeks or longer to resolve. Also, the sheer number of these cases causes court dockets to be backed up for months.

Online dispute resolution brings an exciting opportunity to the court system. Parties can be guided step-by-step through a process that can help resolve disputes as quickly as possible, often without intervention by court personnel. This process can collect relevant information from the parties, make decisions based on that information, and direct parties to a productive next step. Communication between the parties in a case takes place when it is convenient for each party and a record for historical purposes is created automatically.

In many cases, the parties can be directed through a prebuilt path to resolution without the need for any other intervention, but the use of a mediator can be employed if necessary. The mediator can communicate with each party in private while facilitating the parties to an acceptable resolution. The process also produces the legally necessary forms that can signed by each party and forwarded to the judge for approval.

The ability of the parties in the case to communicate online, anywhere, at any time is proving very effective in reducing the backlog of cases in courts using ODR. Many cases are resolved in less than half the time in an average of six days. In addition, these cases are resolved without any of the parties coming face-to-face or needing to appear in court.

ODR is an example of technology used in the public sector and is now being adapted to solve problems in the business of court. Next month, we will explore another technology, online video, that is beginning to be used to provide safety and convenience for court hearings.

Related Content