One of the conversations that has been going on for nearly as long as the development of “modern” [A]DR concerns the formulation of standards of practice. Initially this took the form of loosely articulated professional ethics, in which a balance was sought between the virtues of flexibility in non-judicial dispute resolution and the perceived need for transparency, consistency, accountability etc. For a restatement of one version on national standards and accreditation, see:
In one branch-line development of dispute resolution – online DR – there are similar moves to establish standards, not least because the free form nature of the online world, the burgeoning development of both online commerce and the resolution of related disputes, and the proliferation of providers of both the human and technological kind.
For discussion of this in the EU, see the European Committee for Standardisation’s deliberations:
Again, the concerns are those that are also at the centre of any conversation about the rule of law and the protection of citizen rights and interests: transparency, accountability, consistency etc. And at the same time this takes account of the pluralist shift in contemporary legal and DR practice, in recognising that rule needs to be balanced with context.
This is also a conversation that has taken place in numerous other professional and provider contexts, as to whether self-regulation is sufficient safeguard; whether the development of international (or at the very least national) norms of professional or sector standards is a necessary mark of the “arrival” of the practice on the professional and global scene (consider advertising, broadcasting standards, codes of ethics of various forms of therapeutic intervention).
One question at the moment: to what extent will such standard (in, say, ODR) take account of or leave space for the regional and local norms of Asian nations?