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Expanding Access to Justice Through Online Dispute Resolution

March 21 @ 1:00 pm - 1:50 pm


Technology is not only changing society, it is changing the way citizens expect to resolve their disagreements.  Consumers, businesses, and lawyers increasingly expect to be able to resolve any issues that arise 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, right from their laptops and tablets.  Also, transactions now routinely cross the globe, and disputants are unwilling to sort out complex issues of jurisdiction every time a problem crops up.

These are the reasons behind the growth of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR). ODR is the use of information and communications technology to help parties resolve their disputes. ODR was developed initially as part of the expansion of eCommerce to provide fast and fair resolutions to online consumers.

ODR enables parties to resolve cases themselves — or with a mediator or evaluator — online, using a browser from the privacy of their own homes or offices. The results are significant savings in costs, reduced time to resolution and capacity to take on an unlimited number of cases in a virtual environment. Put another way, ODR removes the barriers of the physical environment (i.e. scheduling, rooms, security, clerks, etc.) so that only the most complex cases have to be handled in person.

Using ODR to resolve disputes means that citizens can get solutions 24/7 from any web browser or mobile phone. Parties to a dispute can manage and monitor their cases all the way to closure. When done correctly, ODR can standardize and humanize resolution processes by empowering users to take control of their own resolutions.

This session will introduce participants to ODR by sharing the latest developments and showing ODR technology in action. It will also directly address some of the complex questions raised by the growth of ODR, including ethical dilemmas and the danger of delivering second-class justice. Relying on recent social science research and extensive real-world ODR experience, the session will discuss these challenges and share ideas regarding best practices and important procedural and substantive safeguards.

Speaker: Colin Rule, Vice President for Online Dispute Resolution at Tyler Technologies

From 2003 to 2011 Colin was Director of Online Dispute Resolution for eBay and PayPal. He has worked in the dispute resolution field for more than 25 years as a mediator, trainer, and consultant. He is currently Co-Chair of the Advisory Board of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution at UMass-Amherst and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Gould Center for Conflict Resolution at Stanford Law School. Colin co-founded Online Resolution, one of the first online dispute resolution (ODR) providers, in 1999 and served as its CEO (2000) and President. Previously, Colin was General Manager of Mediate.com, the largest online resource for the dispute resolution field.


This event is free and open to the public.



March 21
1:00 pm - 1:50 pm


Hulston Hall, Room 112 (Courtroom)


Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution

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