An ensemble of judges, lawyers, justice innovators, legal technicians and ODR experts from around the world gathered in the historical venue of the Peace Palace in The Hague on May 23rd-May 24th. A location that has gained worldwide recognition as the international city of Peace and Justice. These individuals joined forces to attend the 15th Annual ODR Conference and tackle this year’s theme; ‘Can ODR really help courts and increase access to justice?’
The Director of Rechtwijzer Technology Jin Ho Verdonschot and CEO of Modria, Colin Rule, opened this year’s conference. Jin Ho Verdonschot welcomed the Global ODR community and all its participants here in The Hague. Thanking all members for their attendance and emphasizing the trend report to be ‘a strengthening force in the judiciaries’.
Colin Rule stated that this is an exciting time of ODR, a ‘key moment in which we will be followed by many in the discussions we will be having in the coming two years’, emphasizing that the ‘bar is raised higher every year’. The founding father of ODR himself Ethan Katsh opened day two, in conjunction with Jin Ho. The CEO of the Chair National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution spoke about the future directions of ODR and its prospects. Ethan Katsh opened with stating the importance of knowing the current developments, ‘If you don’t see foresee the technological changes you are in trouble’…‘The most interesting question is whether or not technology changes the way of thinking about any system.’
The conference was fortunate to have experienced members and experts in the field of ODR. The first day’s panel had several interesting results on the issues to be resolved after the working groups. ‘What is needed for good cooperation between different entities?’ Maurits Barendrecht asked in regards to the relation between software, lawyers and courts. Senior Presiding Judge Dory Reiling explained that, ‘There are barriers between courts and the rest of the world, the first thing would be that the barriers need to drop.’ The reason why there is no rapid development with ODR according to Jim Leason is that, ‘The challenge in the UK is that the IT systems of the courts are 20 years old’. As a result of this Tom Wynne Morgan explained that, ‘The business process side needs to be designed first’ to increase the momentum. It was evident that it still needs to become clear that ODR is an available source to achieving justice.
Judge Joyce Alouch clarified this when stating, ‘Speaking from national experience, for small claims people will go for an alternative to the court system, but there needs to be awareness raising that ODR is available’. The founder of Modria Colin Rule inspired innovators with his views claiming that, ‘Innovation comes from relentless competition and pressure, technology requires that pressure’. The second day’s panel focused on making ODR a sustainable and preferred option. After intense discussion, debating, and distributing chocolate coins as voting currency the results were in and finalized.
The voting results of the ODR Conference 2016 disclosed that full integration was the most preferred. This is contrast to pre-trial ODR and ODR as a competitor to the courts. A full integration would merge court procedures with ODR processes and empower the users, allowing them to have control over the dispute. When referring back to the main question, ‘Can ODR really help courts and increase their access to justice?’, it was concluded that full integration is the most preferred method of implementation to do so.
Throughout the conference there were several compelling topics mentioned by speakers. Here you can find a compilation of interesting quotes.
Online Dispute Resolution Platforms
Online dispute resolution itself would not be possible without the various online platforms that offer this method of achieving justice. Click on the link below to find more information on these different platforms.
The speaker’s presentations gave great insights to ODR, its development, and how it is being used in different areas of the world.
To see the various presentations click here.
When entering the Peace Palace, the stunning architecture and cultural richness of the venue was not the only thing that caught the attention of attendees. The super-judge robe consisting of four layers was spectated and worn by many. Each layer representing one of the many different faces of judges. The outer layer to be seen as the superhero judge, the black robe representing the traditional judge, the white the religious judge, and the pink checkered robe representing the multicultural judge.
To see the judge robe photos click here.
On behalf of HiiL Innovating Justice and Rechtwijzer we sincerely want to thank all of those whom contributed to the ODR Conference 2016. The speakers who travelled far and wide to share with us their views on the developments of ODR. The attendees whom showed interest and passion for this upcoming phenomenon. A special thank you to the following sponsors whom made this event possible.
The Hague Municipality