Although the ODR is still in its infancy, the current structure shows promise.
The ability to address problems encountered in India’s traditional dispute resolution systems is provided through the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) method. When it comes to ease of doing business, ODR stands out for its criterion on access to justice in particular because it is thought to be a paradigm-shifting change in the justice delivery framework.
ODR is frequently interpreted as an electronic medium of alternative dispute resolution (e-ADR) that uses the internet and other web-based technology in methods like telecommunications, computer technology, and audio-visual technology to conduct arbitration, mediation, and conciliation. ODR is currently acknowledged on a global scale.
Government, industry, and the judiciary in India gave it a boost through court-annexed ODR and other legaltech enterprises as an expansion of the public court system. It has become inevitable in the modern day, especially in a post-pandemic society.
Recognising the structure
In India, there isn’t yet a particular law governing ODR. Although the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 and the Information Technology Act of 2000 respectively recognise electronic signatures and digital evidence. A few departments and ministries have also implemented digital dispute resolution methods, such as the Reserve Bank of India’s ODR policy for electronic payments, the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises’ e-lok adalats, and the e-courts mission. In order to increase dispute avoidance, containment, and settlement online, NITI Aayog also published a paper titled “Designing the Future of Dispute Resolution: The ODR Policy Plan for India.” Although small in scale, these advances demonstrate a methodical and staged approach to ODR promotion in India.
Private sector employment
The promotion of ODR in India sparked early innovation and technological adoption by the private sector, involving a number of significant players, including startups that offer these ODR services, dispute resolution centres, and professionals who use technology tools in their services to resolve disputes that arise in the course of business. With the help of a non-profit organisation called Agami, ICICI Bank organised the E-ADR competition in 2019 to find startups that were resolving millions of online disputes. This gave the system a breakthrough. Additionally, the Department of Legal Affairs asked organisations that offer ADR/ODR services for suggestions so that it may include a list of service providers on its website.
Additionally, firms in both the digital economy and traditional industries are eager to incorporate technology into the dispute resolution process as a result of the growth of both technology and the digital economy. Such legal-tech start-ups specialising in ODR can help the legal system be more accessible, economical, effective, and convenient. Additionally, government subsidies for these firms would promote further expansion of ODR in India. Jupitice, SAMA, Agami, Presolv360, JustAct, and the Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution Excellence are a few famous startups. While some firms offer software as a service or offer legal services by fusing technology and professional experience, very few startups offer an integrated cloud-based platform, end-to-end dispute management software, and ERP software.
ODR services for startups, as an example
Modria It is a tool for online dispute resolution that offers a rapid, safe, and impartial approach to settle conflicts. To assist business owners in quickly and affordably resolving disputes, Modria provides a range of services, such as mediation, arbitration, and negotiation.
Smartsettle It is a platform for resolving disputes that is powered by artificial intelligence and employs algorithms to find the optimal resolution. It can be used to settle disputes between startups and their clients, partners, or suppliers and offers a wide range of services, such as online negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.
FairClaims It is an online platform for arbitration that enables business owners to settle disputes outside of court. It efficiently settles disputes and offers parties a user-friendly platform to submit their case.
CAMP Practise in Arbitration and Mediation It is an online dispute resolution agency with a presence in India that offers arbitration and mediation to corporations and start-ups. The software offers a clear and effective dispute resolution process and is easy to use.
Obstacles to the ODR Framework Creating a strong ODR
There are difficulties with framework. Confidentiality violations, weak data protection legislation, falsifying digital proof, and the lack of online notarization of papers are a few of them. For this procedure to be successful, additional conditions must be met, including digital literacy, internet infrastructure access, and cyber security. Additionally, there is a need to increase the number of ODR experts in India who have received training while also allowing them to regularly upskill in line with technological advancements. As a requirement for ODR in India, it is important to prioritise and address these issues. Although the ODR is still in its infancy, the architecture that is already in place shows promise. According to Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, “Online Dispute Resolution has the potential to decentralise, diversify, democratise, and disentangle the justice delivery mechanism for the citizens of India.” T The timing is opportune for India to take steps towards the advantageous ODR integration of technology with the dispute resolution process in order to change the system for delivering justice. Suma largely focuses on issues relating to employment and labour. She provides customers with advice at KSK on the applicability of labour laws, the hiring of various workforce categories, including contract workers, non-employees, and employees, as well as changes to service conditions and the secondment of personnel.