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Archive for the ‘ODR’ Category

The open University of Catalonia (www.uoc.edu) is launching a course on “expertise in online mediation”. Over the past couple of years, an international group of the top people in this field have been pooling ideas, and generating plans for online graduate programmes in aspects of ODR, and this course is the first result. This is worth checking out – especially when you note the Faculty who will be teaching on both the English and Spanish language programmes. You’ll be in the company of the people who are shaping the field.

For information, see http://studies.uoc.edu/en/postgraduate-courses/law-political-science/odr-mediation-expertise-eng/presentation. The Faculty names do not appear to be listed under the “Faculty” tab, but they include:

Ethan Katsh, Colin Rule, Pablo Cortès, Jeff Aresty, Daniel Rainey, David Larson, Graham Ross, Alberto Elisavetsky, Esther Vilalta, Rosa Perez Martell.

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THE 10TH ONLINE DISPUTE RESOLUTION WORKING GROUP CONFERENCE

FEBRUARY 7th – 9th 2011, CHENNAI, INDIA

Summary:

The ODR Working Group has met annually since 2002 in a wide variety of locations around the world:

2002 – 1st – Geneva (UN Palais des Nations)

2003 – 2nd – Geneva (UN Palais des Nations)

2004 – 3rd – Melbourne, Australia

2005 – 4th – Cairo, Egypt

2006 – 5th – Liverpool, UK

2007 – 6th – Hong Kong, China

2008 – 7th – Victoria, Canada

2009 – 8th – Haifa, Israel

2010 – 9th – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Each conference has grown in size and expanded the number of countries represented among the attendees.  The last few conferences included participants and speakers from:

USA Canada Ireland Italy Switzerland
UK Mexico Spain Denmark Israel
Czechoslovakia Germany Netherlands Singapore China
Philippines Indonesia Japan Korea Australia
Argentina Brazil Ecuador Chile Uruguay
Egypt India Hong Kong Sri Lanka Malaysia
Pakistan Venezuela Peru Nigeria Uganda

This is the first time India will play host. Because this is our first meeting in India we expect a very strong turnout from the Indian legal, information technology, commercial and mobile community.  With the expansion of the Internet and the growing reach of technology, the need for effective and ethical online dispute resolution is growing in importance. We expect that this meeting will enable the world to learn from India, as well as enabling India to learn from the world.

Background

Tens of millions of disputes are resolved using ODR tools every year.  The volume of cases handled through ODR systems dwarfs the volume of cases handled through face-to-face dispute resolution processes by an order of magnitude, and on a total filings basis it’s safe to say that more matters are resolved through ODR each year than through the Indian and American judicial systems combined. ODR was started for ecommerce and now has spread its wings to every facet of dispute prevention, resolution and transformation.

The ODR Working Group Meeting always embraces the full spectrum of these issues.  Speakers at the meeting will address labor/management issues, cease fire monitoring, domain names, environmental conflict, and customer support, to name only a few application areas.  Governments around the world are already funding ODR experiments in many of these areas, and as our global society becomes more wired, the number of applications leveraging ODR will inevitably continue to grow.

This year is particularly important in the realm of eCommerce ODR because the UN has agreed to explore the creation of a global eCommerce ODR system to provide redress to all online consumers.  This meeting of the ODR Working Group will be the first time the ODR field will hear from officials working at UNCITRAL (the UN Agency tasked with harmonizing global laws) on this proposal.

Global interest in Online Dispute Resolution is at an all time high.  After more than a decade of experimentation, with many well documented successes, ODR is finally ready to move into the mainstream.  The trends that underlie ODR (e,g. technology, eDemocracy, dispute resolution, and public participation) all seem to be cresting at this moment.  Convening the leading minds in the field of ODR from around the world to explore current research and share best practices will help to define how justice will be achieved in the coming century.

Agenda

The conference takes place over two days.  There are several plenary and keynote sessions, and several break-outs with multiple concurrent sessions.  A half-day post-conference session aimed to provide an introduction to ODR for individuals who might not know much about ODR’s history, tools, or applications will be held with Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Another session for the UNCITRAL working group on Global Consumer Online Dispute Resolution is also being planned post conference.

This gathering will be sponsored by PayPal, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, and the Institute for International Commercial Law.

Conference Website and Registration:  http://odr2011.org

Participation: Free of Charge

If you have any further questions, please contact Chittu Nagarajan at cnagarajan@paypal.com, or visit the conference website at http://odr2011.org.

 

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This is not immediately on mediation in Asia, but you’ll see the connections if you pick up the links.

First, there’s a growing body of work on the role of information communication technologies and conflict resolution & peace (to sit alongside the work on online dispute resolution). Much of this work can be be linked to the NGO ICT4Peace, founded by former Finnish President and Nobel Peace Laureate, Martti Ahtisaari.

Have a look at the latest periodical, Peace IT which can be downloaded here: http://ict4peace.org/view_blog_posts-1-v-188.html

Much of the work relates to the potential and current uses of ICT in crisis management and mitigation; there are also strong links to the role of ICT in governance, information dissemination, and capacity building.

As a counterpoint to any sense that ICT’s provide a panacea to issues of conflict and crisis, it’s also worth looking at Evgeny Morozov’s article, Texting Towards Utopia, in the Boston Review at  http://bostonreview.net/BR34.2/morozov.php.

For an idea of how this work – the role of ICT in conflict mitigation and management – is being developed in this region, and on the ways in which such media may serve as a kind of “mediating social institution”, see the work of Sanjana Hattotuwa in Sri Lanka, and the links on his web pages, especially on media and peacebuilding.

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I know this blog is going to stray from the theme of its title, but in this electronic world, boundaries mean less than they used to.

So, if you’re interested in the world of online dispute resolution, have a look at a forthcoming symposium at the Open University of Catalonia, Barcelona:

http://www.uoc.edu/symposia/adr/

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Standards and ADR/ODR

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:

http://www.ag.gov.au/agd/WWW/rwpattach.nsf/personal/D5FE119033AEDD3CCA256E61000D5DB9/$FILE/accreditation+options+paper6+new.pdf

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:

http://www.cen.eu/cenorm/businessdomains/businessdomains/isss/activity/ws_odr.asp

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?

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“New means of moving information will alter any power structure.”

Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media

The other track this blog will follow deals with the role of Information Communication Technology and conflict/dispute mitigation. The “civil” track of this concerns online dispute resolution – which is now well-established (more at another time on this). The other track is the “ICT for Peace” line of thinking. And on this I note a relatively recent item on the UNESCO site:

International media professionals adopt Doha Declaration on the Potential of Media: Dialogue, Mutual Understanding and Reconciliation
International media professionals adopt Doha Declaration on the Potential of Media: Dialogue, Mutual Understanding and Reconciliation
04-05-2009 (Doha)
Some 250 media professionals from around the world adopted a declaration emphasizing the importance of media in communicating across cultural differences at the close of a two-day international conference entitled “Potential of Media: Dialogue, Mutual Understanding and Reconciliation” in Doha (Qatar).
The “Doha Declaration on the Potential of Media: Dialogue, Mutual Understanding and Reconciliation”, was one of the major outcomes of the conference on press freedom organized by UNESCO and the Doha Center for Media Freedom in the Qatar city on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2009.

The Declaration stresses that independent and pluralistic media are essential for ensuring transparency, accountability and participation as fundamental elements of good governance and human rights-based development. It furthermore notes that freedom of opinion and expression are essential for free and democratic societies and contribute to a better understanding of and a dialogue among cultures.

http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en/ev.php-URL_ID=28568&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

See also the link to Sanjana Hattotuwa’s blog in the blog roll on this site. And the web site of the ICT for Peace Foundation, established by Martti Ahtisaari: http://ict4peace.org/

This field is, I guess, also a potential example of the expanding role of non-state agencies in the peace and dialogue process – though states and international agencies are certainly also engaged (of which UNESCO is an example).

One element to bear in mind in relation to both ICT and mediation is that “private” technologies need to be seen also – perhaps more so – in terms of their civic or public contributions. Mediation in the West, for example, has been fostered for its values of private settlement, autonomy, confidentiality, choice and so on; yet in its original homes, mediation served and serves more of a normative, integrative function. The parallel with ICT is possibly this, that ICT does foster narrowcasting, the translation of citizens into consumers whose priority is choice, autonomy and a new technoculture; BUT, that same technology can be seen – and needs to be used – in terms of its capacity to foster engagement, citizenship, civic dialogues:

“In short, the interactive mediaspace offers a new way of understanding civilisation itself, and a new set of good reasons for engaging with civic reality more fully in the face of what are often perceived (or taught) to be the many risks and compromises associated with cooperative behaviour.” [Douglas Rushkoff, “Open Source Democracy: How Online Communication is Changing Offline Politics” (from www.demos.uk 16]

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