Can ODR Help To Resolve Conflict In Refugee Communities?

rodion-kutsaev-184298The arrival of over a million refugees in Europe and the wider region since the outbreak of war in Syria has brought human rights and migration issues into the headlines around the world. Last year, the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNHCR) reported that forced displacement has reached a record high globally at 65.3 million people (one person in 113).

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Posted by Petros Zourdoumis in Access To Justice, ADR, Mediation, ODR, Technology

Spontaneous GPC Voting Events Are Taking Place In India

Spontaneous GPC voting events have been popping up in India, just days before voting is set to close. As soon as online voting opened up to the public, organisers in India set up ‘voting clinics’ to help people to vote.


This is giving a significant boost to the global voting data, only days before the deadline on the 31 July. Today 30 people attended the clinic to vote, adding their voice to the global data on dispute resolution.
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Posted by GPC Series in Access To Justice, ADR, Technology

The Paris ODR Conference – When Law Meets Tech

peter-kleinau-99994.jpgThe 17th annual ODR Conference, which took place in Paris last month, was not your average law event. Entitled Equal Access to Information and Justice Online Dispute Resolution, the conference spanned across two days filled with intense discussions, ideas, exciting projects and most importantly – excellent food. Especially unique, was the combination of tech experts and lawyers from all over the world, and of course those who fit into both categories.

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Posted by Natasha Mellersh in Access To Justice, ADR, Dispute Management, Education, ODR, Technology

The London GPC – Time For Change

marlon-maya-44935.jpgLast week’s London event marked the grand finale of the GPC Series, which has taken place on six continents and 29 cities since April 2016, collecting groundbreaking data on the behaviour and perceptions of stakeholders in dispute resolution across the globe. Taking place in the historical Guildhall building, built upon centuries of ‘dispute resolution’ above the Roman amphitheatre – where conflict was perhaps resolved in a more brutal way than today.

The event began with an introduction by online dispute resolution advocate Lord Justice Briggs, who has consistently pushed for technological reforms in the courts of England and Wales, especially in regards to resolving disputes. In addition Dr Andrew Parmley, Lord Mayor of London (Mayor of the City of London), gave a moving speech on London’s rich multicultural history – stating that London will remain a global city and an international hub for the legal community undeterred by Brexit.

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Posted by Natasha Mellersh in Access To Justice, ADR, Arbitration, Dispute Management, Education, LOC Coverage, Mediation, Negotiation, Technology
Ask An Expert: Colin Rule

Ask An Expert: Colin Rule


Colin Rule, Vice President of Online Dispute Resolution at Tyler Technologies, in Silicon Valley, discusses education, technology and providing better access to justice online.

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Posted by Natasha Mellersh in Access To Justice, ADR, Ask An Expert, ODR, Technology

Ediscovery In Hong Kong: Dispelling Some Litigation & Innovation Myths


At a recent conference in Hong Kong, attendees were asked about how to improve the dispute resolution process for all parties. Data generated from a live, technology-enabled poll of the audience led to a thought-provoking discussion on the priorities and limitations to innovation in the dispute resolution process, specifically in Hong Kong.

Panelists and attendees agreed that the region currently has a quite low-tech experience, and some of the biggest obstacles attorneys face when seeking to resolve commercial disputes are financial and time constraints.

Identifying the Disconnect

During one of the conference discussions on this subject, the audience was asked to prioritise a list of processes and tools that may improve commercial dispute resolution procedures. Surprisingly (for a technology-minded attorney), “better use of technology” was behind almost every other choice listed except for “other,” as was also the case in the aggregated data from conferences.

However, in voting on what will have the most significant impact on future policy-making in commercial dispute resolution, conference attendees overwhelmingly placed the highest importance on the demand for increased efficiency of the dispute resolution processes, including through technology.

These results raise an important question: how can innovation be brought to change-resistant industries, knowing that professionals in those industries seem to have a vision for the future that isn’t reflected in their current priorities? This inconsistency is an impediment to driving real change and improving the processes behind dispute resolution.

Shedding Light on the Legal Landscape

In short, the key to speeding up innovation is dispelling the myths that prevent progress.

To explore more about the myths around technology and the law, I spoke to May Tai (pictured), a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills in Hong Kong, specialising in cross-border China-related and regional Asian disputes including international arbitration, litigation, and regulatory investigations. May is one of the leaders in technology innovation, and she had some interesting perspective on how to subvert some of the most common myths among technology-resistant legal professionals in the region:

Myth #1: Using sophisticated technology makes the process more complicated and less efficient than the status quo.

May: “Litigation and arbitration are getting increasingly more complex. If we do not use sophisticated technology, we will be left behind because others will use it and offer better products and services to clients. The option of staying with the status quo does not exist.”

Myth #2: Using technology makes the process costlier because you must hire specialists.

May: “Whether using technology makes the process costlier depends on the type and size of the case. Clearly on a very simple or low value case, it is not appropriate to spend money to bring in technology specialists. But in complex and/or high value cases, there is no other way to provide the clients with the best service and best chance of succeeding in their case.”

Myth #3: As an hourly billable entity, law firms don’t have an interest in becoming more efficient.

May: “The number of matters where clients are willing to accept billing by the hour is decreasing every year. Our clients are sophisticated repeat users of our services and they are constantly challenging us to add value and become more efficient.”

Myth #4: The learning curve to introduce technology is too steep and attorneys are resistant to change.

May: “Lawyers do not have a choice in the matter. This is what the sophisticated clients expect and what the counterparty’s lawyers are doing.”

Written by Abigail Cooke.

This article was first published on the 18 May 2017 in Legal IT Insider, for the original version please click here.

Abigail CookAbigail Cooke is a US attorney, based in Hong Kong as kCura‘s head of business development and operations in the Asia-Pacific Region. Abigail started her career with the Civil Division of the US Department of Justice. She then moved into corporate law, working within the pharmaceutical industry, specializing in large-scale corporate transactions, commercial contracts, and compliance. Moreover, Abigail has defined her legal career around the idea that legal processes and the industry in general can be innovative, cost effective, and efficient. 
Posted by Abigail Cooke in Arbitration, Comment, Dispute Management, Technology

Ask An Expert: Mark Appel

Mark Appel

Mark Appel, an independent international Arbitrator, Mediator, Consultant and Trainer, discusses online dispute resolution (ODR), cybersecurity and the impact of technology on the dispute resolution process. Continue reading →

Posted by Natasha Mellersh in Access To Justice, ADR, Ask An Expert, ODR, Technology

Are People Waking Up To Online Dispute Resolution?

joshua-sortino-215039.jpgTechnology is playing an increasingly important role in all aspects of our lives. Digitalisation has transformed the way we communicate, work, access information and consume goods. However, while making many things easier, the use of technology also creates new problems – in the form of unprecedented complex disputes and the constant evolution of the online services.

The changing nature of the internet and the way we use it, in turn presses us to reassess the way we approach these issues. As a consequence the use of technology in the legal process appears to be inevitable.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is no exception, with dispute resolution services being made available online through a number of initiatives – such as European online dispute resolution platform which deals with consumer disputes within the EU, or Ebay and PayPal‘s dispute resolution portals. Online dispute resolution (ODR) has also been seen as a valuable tool in addressing access to justice issues, providing an accessible service at a low cost to a wide range of people.

Hot topic

The role of technology in dispute resolution was also a hot topic at last month’s Paris Arbitration Week (PAW), as well as at the Paris Global Pound Conference on 26 April which included a panel entitled the ‘Stakes of the digitisation of dispute resolution’, in the same week, a round table discussion organised by Wake-up with Arbitration addressed the topic of ‘Arbitration and Legaltech’. In addition, the ICC Institute Training for Tribunal Secretaries event, Erik Schäfer trained participants on the use of technology and organisation of digital files.

The discussions during PAW, highlighted not only the need for further incorporation of technology in dispute resolution processes, but also the existing tools available to users and advisors. In addition to the continued development of ODR, there has also been debate on the ethical principles and standards for ODR, and the challenges posed by artificial intelligence, predictive justice, data collection & analysis, data protection, privacy and cyber security. These issues are crucial in ensuring the effective application and upholding appropriate standards of ODR. 

A crucial evolution

Although the innovation and in technological advancements are occurring at a rapid pace, services to resolve disputes online remain extremely slow or even nonexistent in many countries. The absence of such services providing access to justice can potentially end up in effectively denying justice.

Even though we do everything online from buying a sandwich to paying taxes, the crucial function of dispute prevention and resolution is not yet widely available. Nevertheless, technology has invaded our social and economic lives in the last two decades including the dispute resolution field, inspiring a number of effective programmes online.

What is most significant about this emerging area is the way in which ODR will develop in the future. With a number of pilot projects and ODR platforms in use all across the world, there is huge scope for further development. A number of different countries have been at the forefront of applying ODR in courts, such as Singapore, Korea, the Netherlands, the UK and the United States among others.

Although most programmes are currently focusing on civil and consumer disputes, there is room to expand such practices to larger commercial disputes or even in the area of employment and family law and even criminal disputes. In 2016, Malaysia started its first cyber court specialising in hearing cyber crime cases, including bank fraud, hacking, falsifying documents, defamation, and spying, online gambling.

Next month, the Equal Access to Information & Justice – Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) 2017 Conference will further explore the future of dispute resolution and the role of technology in all legal fields, from mediation in conflict zones to commercial and civil disputes.

Written by Mirèze Philippe and Natasha Mellersh.

MirezeMirèze Philippe is a special counsel at the Secretariat of the ICC International Court of Arbitration. She is a French lawyer of French and Lebanese origin. She is founding co-president of ArbitralWomen, member of the Steering Committee of the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge, member of the Board of Advisors of Arbitrator Intelligence, member of the Advisory Board of Association Arbitri, and fellow of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution.


Natasha Mellersh is the editor of the GPC Blog, she is currently also pursuing an LLM in Public International Law at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Her experience ranges from international public and private law to project management and communications. She was previously the online editor of CDR Magazine and a senior editor at LexisNexis.

Posted by Mirèze Philippe and Natasha Mellersh in Access To Justice, ADR, Technology