This paper looks at the growing presence of online alternative dispute resolution in the commercial setting, with the eventual goal of making suggestions to improve current online systems. While out-of-court dispute resolutions such as arbitration and mediation have been a long-time alternative to lengthy litigation, the development of the internet and other advanced forms of communication has lead to an increased presence of, and increased possibilities for, online dispute resolution. The first section of this paper provides a succinct review of the history of online dispute resolution. The focus of the section is two-pronged. The first prong discusses how technological advancements have led to changes in the functioning and performance of online dispute resolution systems. The second prong focuses on the progression of online dispute resolution through four distinct phases: ¨Dhobbyist,¡¬ ¨Dexperimental,¡¬ ¨Dentrepreneurial,¡¬ and institutional.¡¬1 The next two sections of the paper provide an analysis of the primary characteristics of current online dispute resolution systems. Section two focuses on the benefits of such systems, while section three focuses on the negative aspects of these systems. While the internet has led to many beneficial changes in alternative dispute resolution, it has also brought about new issues that must be addressed. It is only through balancing these benefits and disadvantages that a truly effective system of online dispute resolution can be established. This balancing is the attempt of section four of the paper. This section focuses on possible responses to the shortcomings of the current implementation of online dispute resolution. The goal of this section is to look at the drawbacks addressed in section three 3 and provide possible solutions that could decrease the overall severity of these negative effects. This final section provides a series of recommendations, the implementation of which may help to address some of the downsides of online dispute resolution systems and expand the reach of currently existing systems.
Shekhar Kumar, Virtual Venues: Improving Online Dispute Resolution as an Alternative to Cost Intensive Litigation, 27 J. Marshall J. Computer & Info. L. 81 (2009)