Dyson: Follow the French lead in embracing online dispute resolution

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24 April 2015


Lord Dyson

Lord Dyson: French justice system “allows innovation”

Lord Dyson has praised a French online dispute resolution (ODR) website for opening up justice and said he hoped “something similar” would be created in this country.

The Master of the Rolls said www.demanderjustice.com provided an e-filing service for litigants-in-person, which enabled people to resolve their disputes through ODR, but if that did not succeed, it could create and file electronically the court documents necessary to start a claim.

In a speech to a Law Society Magna Carta event this week, Lord Dyson said: “The system in France encourages more than simply greater efficiency. It allows innovation.”

Referring to the report of the Civil Justice Council working party on ODR, chaired by Professor Richard Susskind, Lord Dyson said it “convincingly demonstrates” one of the ways the justice system should develop.

“That the starting point for the French website is an informal means of ADR cannot but be a good thing. It is right that it is backed-up with access to the court if ADR does not lead to a resolution of the dispute.”

However, Lord Dyson warned that in developing ODR, the need for open justice must be kept in mind.

“There is an obvious tension between the preservation of this fundamental principle and the promotion of virtual, internet-based, systems and processes that enhance efficiency and cost-savings.

“It is one thing to conduct mediations out of the public gaze. This is already done and there can be no objection to it. But we should not allow advances in technology to lead to secret court determination of disputes.”

Lord Dyson went on to praise Scotland for its civil procedure rule simplification project, led by the Scottish Civil Justice Council.

“We should not overlook the fact that a high proportion of litigants who use our civil courts are self-represented,” he said. “To say that for the majority of them the CPR are daunting must be an understatement.”

The Master of the Rolls said there were further lessons to be learnt from Brazil, where a new civil procedure code, coming into force in December, would allow parties to modify the rules.

“It is worth thinking about whether we should adopt such a provision here so as to permit parties, with the court’s consent, to agree to opt out of certain aspects of procedure to enable their claim to be dealt with more speedily.”

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2 Responses to “Dyson: Follow the French lead in embracing online dispute resolution”

  1. There is more than hope … there is a system that has been fully developed, ODRO. Please see attached link; http://www.odro.co.uk
    For further detials and a demo please contact Bill Scouller, Founder – bill@odro.co.uk

    I am currently developing a version of the ODRO product with Bill for Barristers and Chamebrs to use and communicate with their business and direct access clients. If you would like further details regarding this product then please contact me ;
    Jonathan Maskew
    jonathan@footstepsms.co.uk

  2. Jonathan Maskew on April 24th, 2015 at 7:18 am
  3. It is indeed refreshing to hear Lord Dyson’s view on innovation within the justice system. Video over the last 12 months has taken a huge step forward in terms of both quality and reliability. Often resistance to virtual meetings is founded in very mixed experiences of Skype, a largely consumer product designed for one to one meetings. Video in the last 12 – 18 months has become ubiquitous removing need for various downloads and updates, which are often restricted within corporate environments.

    There is no doubt the new disruptive collaboration technology created within the Odro web hosted and other new entrants will transform business and in time the justice system. When you consider the advatanges for not only the legal sector but business more generally, such as speed, scale, travel, business continuity. cost, mobility, work life balance and not least carbon savings, it is very easy to project a very positive Return on Investement.

    Additionally the new innovative systems do not require the significant capital expenditure of the past, but are based on useage where cost is directly related to benefit.

    At Odro we are experiencing strong interest and demand from Financial services market, medical market, higher education, surveying and from Barristers. It is surely only a matter of time that the wider legal profession embrace technology for the benefit of clients, public and wider community. Technology will undoubtedly bring justice to the wider community in time, however it could be justifiably argued that the time is now !

    As Professor Richard Susskind has often said justice is not court room, much in the same way that work in the 21st century in not a place but where you choose to be !

    Bill Scouller http://www.odro.co.uk

  4. Bill Scouller on April 24th, 2015 at 9:24 am

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