Webinar - Ethical Principles and Standards for Online Dispute Resolution

Ethical Principles and Standards for Online Dispute Resolution

Cyberweek 2016 - Ethical Principles and Standards for Online Disput... from Werner Institute on Vimeo.

Program’s Description

As the adoption of ODR grows exponentially across a variety of sectors and national borders, it is timely to produce a comprehensive and living document of ethical principles integral to the design, structure, practices, and implementation of online dispute resolution systems. In addition to ethical principles, the time is right to address the need for either new or updated standards of practice for mediators, and indeed for all third party practitioners. In the webinar, the presenters will provide overviews of their initiatives regarding ODR ethical principles and standards of practice. A discussion forum follows designed to facilitate engagement on these topics with practitioners, faculty, and students.

Presenters’ Bios

Dr. Leah Wing, Co-director, National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution and Senior Lecturer, Legal Studies Program, Department of Political Science, U. of Massachusetts/Amherst, USA.  

Leah has taught dispute resolution since 1993 and her present research projects focus on the ethical principles for online dispute resolution, crowdsourcing and spatial justice, and technological responses to digital harm doing.  She recently completed collaborative research on three National Science Foundation funded projects on online dispute resolution.  She serves on the editorial boards of the InternationalJournal of Online Dispute Resolution and Conflict Resolution Quarterly, and has served two terms on the Association of Conflict Resolution Board of Directors.  Since being certified as a mediator in 1983, Leah has provided mediation and training consultation to 100+ organizations and institutions, specializing in the relationship between power, identity, and conflict transformation.  She is the founding director of the Social Justice Mediation Institute

Daniel Rainey is a principal in Holistic Solutions, Inc. (HSI ) and Fourth Party Solutions (4PS), an adjunct faculty member in the dispute resolution programs at Creighton University, Dominican University, The McGeorge Law School of the University of the Pacific, and Southern Methodist University.  He also serves as the Chief of Staff for the National Mediation Board.  From 1978 through 1990, he was a faculty member and administrative faculty member at George Mason University.

He is currently a Fellow of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, a member of the Board of Directors for the InternetBar.Org (an NGO dedicated to the use of technology to enhance access to justice), the co-founder of PeaceTones (an access to justice program bringing opportunities to artists in conflict and post conflict areas),  Co-Chair of the Ombudsman Committee of the ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, a member of the Advisory Board for Modria, a for-profit Online Dispute Resolution company, and Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Northern Virginia Mediation Service.

He is a leading alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and online dispute resolution (ODR) educator and practitioner.  He is currently active as a teacher of graduate university courses in mediation, negotiation, conflict theory, international dispute resolution, and ODR.  He brings an interest in the impact of information and communication technology on all forms of conflict engagement to his work.  He was one of the instructors for the first university ODR course (at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst), and he has developed graduate level ODR courses for several universities, in addition to skills-based ODR training for dispute resolution centers and professional associations.  As a consultant, he has worked with clients in the development of ODR resources, intercultural negotiation skills, Ombudsman programs, and organizational conflict engagement programs.

He is a member of the editorial board for Conflict Resolution Quarterly, and he is one of the Editors-in-Chief of the International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution.  He is an author/editor of the award-winning book, Online Dispute Resolution Theory and Practice, and numerous other book chapters and articles about ODR and ADR.

He has recently been named to the Supreme Court of Virginia’s Access to Justice Commission, Self-Represented Litigants sub-committee.


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The archive for this session is now available above. The conversation will continue via this forum.


Welcome to the discussion forum on Ethical Principles and Standards for Online Dispute Resolution. 

Thanks to those who joined the webinar held earlier in which Dan and I shared our thoughts on why it is timely to produce a comprehensive and living set of ethical principles integral to the design, structure, practices, and implementation of dispute resolution systems and processes that use ICTs; as well as why the time is right to address the need for either new or updated standards of practice for mediators, and indeed for all third party practitioners. 

This discussion forum provides an opportunity to explore in more depth what ethical issues are raised by the application of technology to dispute resolution and why and how a set of ODR ethical principles and new or updated standards of practice may be useful at this time. 

Let's begin by sharing views on ways that the use of technology within dispute resolution raises new ethical questions. 


I tried to upload the working draft of the annotated standards a while ago, but with no success - let's see if it uploads this time.


Ok, it did upload. I promised in the webinar yesterday that I'd share a copy, but you should keep in mind that it is a working draft.  A more polished version will be published in the International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, and I'll share another copy with ODR.info, if they would like to have it posted there.  I'm happy to answer any questions about why we took the approach we took, and I'd like to hear any counter-opinions about our annotations.

Thank you, Daniel, this is very helpful and also - congratulations on the upcoming publication!

Leah and Dan, I've not had a chance yet to view the session nor read the model standards document ,but let me just throw into the mix the Resolution of the Council of Europe on ODR - see my LI blog . TheCoE is the body which created the European Convention on Human Rights in which Article 6 seeks to protect access to justice. It urged all 47 members states in Europe (note far more than the European Union)  to encourage development and use of ODR  as a way to improve access to justice. In doing so they  addressed issues of standards which I cover in the blog  Since writing that  blog the Committee's recommendations were adopted in full by the Council. 

One of the more interesting standards they include is that a system should not give  the regular user an advantage over the first time user ,eg to 'game' the system.

Additionally the EU Directive  on Consumer ADR and its connected Regulation on ODR contain standards  for online ADR as apply to transparency and  neutrality. But that legislation  has been badly implemented - see my contribution  to the Cyberweek discussion here on the subject.


Finally for completeness on this thread, there is the work of IMI -albeit it does seem to have slowed down somewhat.

There have been a growing number of regulations and legislative acts passed--thus, most of these are being initiated from outside the ODR/ ADR community (although often with input from it).  It seems valuable to set out our own views on the values and standards to be used for guidance and accountability.  What might be the outcome if we don't? 

What questions about ethics and ODR have others been facing?  I am interested in particular to hear people's views about the ethics regarding the use of algorithms in dispute resolution platforms and processes...

A set of Ethical Principles for Online Dispute Resolution are available on the website of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution.

I look forward to further conversations with stakeholders from inside and outside our field about ethics and ODR.



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