Time for a sheriff in town? Governance for the ODR field
As ODR grows and gains traction, it increasingly receives attention from professional associations and industry leaders in mainstream ADR. More recently, it has begun to receive recognition from sources outside of this field – in both the public and private sectors. As ODR develops, this attention from external sources will undoubtedly focus on questions of quality, ethics, practitioner training, service provider qualifications, and monitoring. These questions – already beginning to be heard from within the field – derive, in essence, from one shared overall question, that of appropriate governance for the ODR field.
In this webinar we will explain what we mean when we discuss a field’s governance and make the case that the field itself should investigate issues of its own governance. We explore and explain the current “low-to-no” state of governance in ODR – and the developments that are likely should the field fail to actively address this issue. We discuss the costs of no governance, and the potential costs and disadvantages of employing a higher-governance model. We ask whether ODR can, indeed, be governed at all, and illustrate why – addressing ODR governance is a very complex venture, in terms of the web of factors to be addressed – no matter how beneficial internal governance may be.
Should ODR adopt any particular form of governance, and how should it do so? We invite you to join us, and share your own views on this question. The time is ripe for field-wide conversations on governance, and we hope that this webinar – together with other webinars at Cyberweek 2016 that focus on other governance related issues such as ethics – serve to catalyze these conversations.
Noam Ebner is a professor at the Werner Institute, at Creighton University’s School of Law. Originally from New York, Noam has lived in Israel for many years, dividing his time between his home in Jerusalem, and his teaching, training and consulting activities in the U.S and abroad. He currently resides outside of Jacksonville, Florida.
Before joining the faculty at Creighton, Noam has had over a dozen years of experience teaching at universities around the world – in Israel, Turkey, Costa Rica and elsewhere. He was one of the first educators to promote and develop online teaching in the area of negotiation and dispute resolution. Formerly chair of the Werner Institute’s graduate program in negotiation and dispute resolution, Noam has taught dozens of courses online, and spearheaded curriculum and pedagogical development for an online masters degree program. Noam has consulted to programs and universities with regards to online learning, and he has coached dozens of negotiation and conflict teachers, from all over the world, in their transition to online teaching. His most recent adventure combining international education and online teaching involved designing and teaching a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on negotiation, with over 2000 students enrolling from 87 countries.
Noam has practiced as an attorney, negotiator, and mediator at his own Jerusalem-based firm. He has trained mediators for the Israeli court system and has played key roles in a number of community mediation programs. He has conducted hundreds of workshops on negotiation and conflict resolution for a broad range of private sector industries, governmental agencies, NGOs, universities and non-profits. Noam has authored many articles and book chapters on his research interests of negotiation pedagogy, trust and its role in dispute resolution, and negotiation and mediation processes conducted online, which are available for reading at http://ssrn.com/author=425153. He is co-editor of Assessing Our Students, Assessing Ourselves; Vol.3 in The Rethinking Negotiation Teaching Project (2012, DRI Press).
He is an internationally recognised expert with over 40 years research experience including the last 20 years working on negotiation decision support and machine learning in law. This is evidenced by the publication of 3 books, 75 refereed journal articles (including the Harvard Negotiation Law Review and Monash University Law Review) and 150 refereed conference articles, receiving over 7 million Australian dollars in competitive research grants, significant international collaboration and industry funding, supervised 15 PHD students to completion and conducted over twenty radio and television appearances. In November 2005, he won his heat of the ABC New Inventors program for his negotiation support system Family_Winner which enhances negotiation in Australian family disputes.
He has worked in the university sector for 44 years, with extended experience in USA, France, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Poland and Israel. He has also worked with Victoria Legal Aid, Relationships Australia and the New Zealand government.
He has appeared in the Economist, Boston Globe, London Daily Telegraph, Times of London, CNN and El Periodico in Barcelona.
His expertise is in: Negotiation, Mediation, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Online Dispute Resolution. He currently teaches Alternative Dispute Resolution and Research methods. He is a pioneer in the use of Machine Learning and Law – his Split Up system showed how neural networks can be used in the distribution of Australian marital property. His book, Lodder, A. and Zeleznikow, J. 2010. Enhanced Dispute Resolution through the use of Information Technology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom is a primer on online dispute resolution whilst Ebner, Noam and Zeleznikow, John (2016), “No Sheriff in Town: Governance for the ODR Field” To appear in Negotiation Journal investigates governance in the ODR sphere.
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Here is another series of comments, from the chat feature in WebEx, that didn't get directly addressed in the webinar but which might get stirred into the conversation:
"I was concerned about confidentiality issues in ODR. After a face-to-face mediation, it's easy to delete email, shred notes and documents, etc. And the practitioner knows the legal protections provided to mediation in their jurisdiction... you cannot know the rules re confidentiality everywhere, and I don't know how you would be able to promise confidentiality when your ODR system is subject to many jurisdictions..."
How can we ensure confidentiality on-line?
Great question! My developers assure that there are ways, including encryption, security certificates and more. What also may help is signing agreements and sending proof that the parties online are who they actually are. Facial recognition is also something that we're doing at brav.org.
I'd love to hear your feedback.
Hi everyone, thanks for checking in! You can find the article John and I wrote on this topic, which is generally intended to be an invitation for conversations in the field, here: No Sheriff in Town: Governance for the ODR Field
I think this is an excellent article, and it is very timely for the field. I think this question of governance is on the minds of lots of folks who are watching the rise of ODR around the world. Can't wait to join the webex conversation. Well done, Noam and John! rah
Thank you Colin, so glad you were there!
Thank you all for participating! The webinar recording will be available a little later on, for people wanting to view it. Feel free to continue the conversation on in this forum.
Good session yesterday. One of the webinar participants, a researcher, raised the question about the need for transparency in order to promote useful research and quality control/oversight, while wondering how this might line up with concerns over confidentiality. Are there norms out there regarding the kinds of data that should be shared by ODR providers? I think there are or were for Domain Name disputes but I'm not aware of others. Also, I'd like to put in a plug for our cyberweek forum entitled "Open Source, Open Access and Open Data in ODR" in case people want to dig deeper into this and related issues.
Thank you Bill! This is the perfect place for your plug :-)
An article that might shine a light on some corners of the transparency/confidentiality/data issue - is the one John and I worked on before this one, on Fairness, Trust and Security in ODR. I think the issue of 'whose data is this anyway?' is going to be a biggie, just as it has become for every other aspect of our online life!
The archive for this session is now available for viewing. Thanks to Noam and John for engaging start to Cyberweek 2016.