Can ODR Really Help Courts and Improve Access to Justice?

The 15th annual conference on ODR comes to The Hague, the place with the highest density of judges and courts you can find anywhere in the world. It will be held at the Peace Palace, on Monday May 23 and Tuesday May 24.

For previous editions, the most prominent practitioners, academic experts and dispute resolution entrepreneurs have met in high tech hot spots such as Haifa, Chennai, Silicon Valley, and most recently at Stanford University and New York City.

This year’s conference will be organized by HiiL Innovating Justice with the National Centre for Technology and Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

As a part of our ODR2016 programme we will be regularly posting information, ideas and highlights on global ODR developments in our blog. Click here to see the full ODR 2016 blog, and here to receive our periodical ODR2016 Newsletter.

odr and the courts

Judges are wary of bureaucracy and strive to make a meaningful contribution to people’s lives. They aim to resolve problems such as the impact of divorce on children or to break cycles of substance abuse, mental health issues and crime.

They are also overloaded with information, and under great pressure to deliver timely interventions. In most cases, judges cannot rely on lawyers anymore to assist them. Increasingly, they have to streamline the interaction with clients themselves, who have changed along with the rest of the world.

ODR can be a powerful tool for courts to cope with these types of challenges. But although judiciaries increasingly open up to justice technology in their courts, there are clearly barriers to adopting this technology.

The challenges for introducing ODR in our courts are addressed during the conference:

  • How can we combine ODR technology with human interventions in effective hyrbid processes?
  • How can we take the best from succesful examples that have disruptively innovated traditional markets while upholding Rule of Law values?
  • How can we reinvent the rules of procedure so ODR fits in?
  • How can we mitigate the operational (IT) risks of implementation
A number of key experts on online dispute resolution and on innovation at courts were interviewed. They shared ideas about urgent issues to explore and discuss. This lead to the first outline of a Trend Report on ODR and the Courts that will be discussed and finalised during the ODR 2016 conference.


HiiL Innovating Justice is an innovation institute for the justice sector. It helps courts, ministries of justice and other access to justice organisations and businesses to build effective justice innovations by bringing together the best legal experts, cutting-edge technology, and modernised funding models.

Maurits Barendrecht (research director HiiL Innovating Justice and Professor of Dispute System Design at Tilburg University) and Jin Ho Verdonschot (director HiiL Rechtwijzer Technology and fellow of the NCTDR), with their team of justice technology professionals, have worked on ODR for the past decade. They developed the Rechtwijzer 2.0 platform, which is the first ODR platform for difficult problems such as divorce and separation, landlord-tenant disputes and employment disputes.


The National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution supports and sustains the development of information technology applications, institutional resources, and theoretical and applied knowledge for better understanding and managing conflict. As of 2002, it has organised the annual International ODR Forum. The first edition was held in Geneva in 2002 under the auspices of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). It was the idea of Mr. Daewon Choi, at the time an official of the UNECE. Subsequent Forums have been held in Geneva, Melbourne, Cairo, Liverpool, Hong Kong, Victoria (Canada), Haifa (Israel), Buenos Aires, Chennai, Prague, Montreal, in Silicon Valley and New York City.


Speakers and Programme


08:30-09:00  Morning coffee and registration

09:00-9:30   Welcome and introduction –  Jin Ho Verdonschot, Director HiiL Rewire Justice Technology (confirmed) & Colin Rule, Founder and COO Modria (confirmed) 

9:30-10:15   Diagnosis: The need for ODR in our primary court processes  Lord Justice Fulford, Senior Presiding Judge of England and Wales (confirmed)

10:15-11.30    Short pitches of ODR in practice

  • Civil Resolution Tribunal in British Columbia – Shannon Salter, Chair of the Civil Resolution Tribunal BC (confirmed)
  • Employment tool “Magontslag” – Professor Evert Verhulp, University of Amsterdam (confirmed)
  • Modria Resolution Centre – Chittu Nagarajan, founder (confirmed)
  • Youstice – Zbynek Loebl, CEO (confirmed)
  • Rewire Justice Technology empowering Rechtwijzer, My Law BC and Relate Liselotte Maas, Program director (confirmed), Sherry MacLennan, Director Legal Services Society BC (confirmed), Laura Dowson, Director of Innovation (confirmed)
  • FastPortal – Rik Visser, CEO Fastportal (confirmed)

11:30-12:15    ODR, Dutch courts and the changing role of judgesTanja Dompeling, Leading member of the KEI digitalization program (confirmed)

12:15-12:45 Fair solutions through ODR – Nancy Welsh, Professor of Law at Penn State and Chair ABA Section on Dispute Resolution (confirmed)

12:45-13:30 Lunch

13:30-14:00   Integrating ODR innovations in courts – Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya (confirmed)

14:00-14:30 The challenges of institutional innovation – a personal account – Léonard Sellem and Jeremy Oinino, Founders of Demander Justice (confirmed)

14:30-14:45   Ethical Principles for ODR – Leah Wing, Co-director, National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution (confirmed)

14:45-15:00   Coffee break

15:00-15:45   Working Groups: Models of ODR and Courts Integration

WG I: Full integration – Facilitated by Maurits Barendrecht, Research Director HiiL Innovating Justice (confirmed) & Jeff Aresty, President (confirmed)

WG II: Pre-trial ODR – Facilitated by Sherry MacLennan, Director Legal Services Society BC & Richard Chilver, Digital Services Development Manager (confirmed)

WG III: ODR as competitors to the court – Facilitated by Aura Esther Vilalta, Senior lecturer at Faculty of Law Open University of Catalonia (UOC) (confirmed), Prof. Agustín Madrid Parra, University Pablo de Olavide Ctra (confirmed) & Frances Singleton, Justice Technology Advisor HiiL Rewire Justice Technology (confirmed)

WG IV: ODR platforms as a marketplace for legal and
adjudication services – Facilitated by Joyce Raby, Executive Director at Florida Justice Technology Center (confirmed) & Orna Rabinovich, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of Haifa (confirmed)

15:45-16:00   Coffee break

16:00-16:45   ODR and the Dutch courts: making procedures work for all its users – Dory Reiling, Senior Judge and leading member of the KEI digitalization program (confirmed)

16:45-17:30   The issues to be resolved – Results of working groups
Interviewer: Maurits Barendrecht, Research Director HiiL Innovating Justice


  • Lord Justice Fulford, Senior Presiding Judge of England and Wales (confirmed)
  • Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya (confirmed)
  • Colin Rule, COO Modria (confirmed)
  • Dory Reiling, Senior Judge and leading member of the KEI digitalization program (confirmed)
  • Jim Leason, VP Court Management Solutions Thomson Reuters (confirmed)
  • Judge Joyce Aluoch, First Vice President of the International Criminal Court (confirmed)



08:30-09:00 Morning coffee

09:00-09:15 Opening Day 2 Jin Ho Verdonschot, Director HiiL Rewire Justice Technology

09:15-9:45 ODR, Future directions of ODREthan Katsh, Chair National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution (confirmed)

09:45-10:00 ODR, best practices and quality standards – Daniel Rainey, Chief of Staff National Mediation Board (tbc)

10:00-10:45 I. Working groups: best practices for implementation

ODR and the legal profession: enabling legal professionals to deliver more justice – Janet Martinez, Director of the Martin Daniel Gould Center for Conflict Resolution (confirmed)

Bending the Bar rulesProfessor David Allen Larson, senior fellow at Mitchell Hamline’s Dispute Resolution Institute (confirmed)

Landlord-tenant disputesEiichiro Mandai, President ODR Room Network Japan (confirmed)

Timing interventions in the ODR process – Nicolas Vermeys, Associate Director Cyberjustice Laboratory University of Montreal (confirmed)

Small Claims –  Sue Prince, Associate Professor in Law University of Exeter (confirmed)

10:45-11:00 Coffee break

11:00-11:45 II. Working groups: best practices for implementation

Asylum cases – Vikki Rogers, Director of Institute of International Commercial Law Pace Law School (confirmed)

Consumer disputes – Graham Ross, Mediation Room, Pablo Cortes – professor Leicester University (all confirmed)

Divorce disputes – Laura Dowson, Relate (confirmed) and Liselotte Maas, Dutch Legal Aid Board (confirmed)

Rethinking Judicial Perceptions – Erik Boerma, Judge The Netherlands Judiciary (confirmed)

11:45-12:15 Fairness in delivering justice online – Roger Smith, OBE (confirmed)

12:15-13:15  Lunch

13:15-13:45 Making ODR happen: an executive branch perspectiveTom Wynne-Morgan, UK Ministry of Justice (confirmed)

13:45-14:15 Making ODR part of cutting edge innovation strategies of governments, H.E Al Majid, Chief Innovation Officer UAE Ministry of Justice (confirmed)

14:15-14:35 HiiL Innovating Justice approach to ODR and justice innovationSam Muller, CEO, HiiL Innovating Justice (confirmed)

14:35-14:50 Coffee break

14:50-15:50  Making ODR a sustainable and preferred option: Results of working groups discussed during interview:
Interviewer: Maurits Barendrecht, Research director HiiL Innovating Justice


  • Chief Justice Willy Mutunga  (confirmed)
  • Athaliah Lesiba Molokomme,  Attorney General of Botswana (confirmed)
  • Jan Moerland, DAS (confirmed)
  • Emile de Wijs, Achmea Rechtsbijstand (confirmed)
  • HE Al Majid, Chief Innovation Officer UAE Ministry of Justice (confirmed)
  • Sam Muller, CEO HiiL Innovating Justice (confirmed)

15:50-16:20  Closing  Jin Ho Verdonschot & Ethan Katsh (confirmed)

16:20-17:40  Networking Reception


Meet our keynote speakers:

Other Speakers:


Hosted by




Thomson Reuters  is an internationally renowned source of news and information for the professional markets, including finance and risk, legal, tax and accounting and media. The Legal business of Thomson Reuters has a longstanding history of developing innovative solutions for legal professionals, including legal know how service Practical Law, court case management system, C-Track, and award-winning eBook reader ProView.

Half Partner


Modria is the brainchild of Colin Rule.  Having set up PayPal and Ebay’s dispute handling system, Colin branched out and founded Modria. Today it provides customisable Online Dispute Resolution systems to innovative governments and companies (including HiiL Rechtwijzer) across the world.  For more information about Modria head here, or sign up for the conference and ask Colin Rule, one of our keynote speakers, in person.

Advertising Partners

daslogo       Achmea logo



Conference materials

As a wrap up to the conference we would like to share some of the presentations and pictures.

Presentations about various ODR platforms can be found here.

For the working groups and other presentations, please click here.

Also, take a look at the conference photos!

Soon the trend report on ODR and courts will be published. Subscribe here and we will send you a copy.



Contact Us

     Gintare Petreikyte        Filippa Sofia Braarud      Frances Singleton-Clift

For further information on the conference and follow-up activities please contact the coordinator of the event:

Gintare Petreikyte
HiiL Innovating Justice
+31 (0) 6 45340179