The swift expansion of the internet has transformed almost every aspect of contemporary existence, encompassing the settlement of conflicts. A developing area called “online dispute resolution” (ODR) uses technology to help resolve disputes outside of traditional courtrooms. By offering quick, affordable, and easily accessible ways to settle conflicts, this strategy seeks to improve access to justice. In India, the rise of online dispute resolution can be less expensive and time-consuming. It would also be advantageous for disagreements that are not resolved for a variety of reasons, such as budgetary constraints or scheduling conflicts; in these cases, alternative dispute resolution (ODR) offers a cost-effective and time-efficient solution.

ODRs Legality in India-

The laws governing ODR are still being developed in India. The Indian legal system encourages parties to utilize alternative dispute settlement procedures by means of section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. Both the 1996 Arbitration and Conciliation Act and the 2000 Information Technology Act are adhered to by ODR. Digital signatures and electronic communication are supported under the Information Technology Act of 2000, although there are relatively few particular ODR laws. The parties must firmly decide that they will settle their differences online before anything else can be done in order for ODR to take place. The parties are allowed to select the location of the hearing, which may even be conducted online, according to the arbitration laws. The use of video conferencing for witness statement recording was recognized by the Supreme Court in the State of Maharashtra v. Dr. Praful B. Desai case. Therefore, online participation is possible for both the submissions and the proceedings. In India, the practice of ODR is totally legal. The settlement of domain name disputes is even being handled by (National Internet Exchange of India) NIXI. The ground for wider adoption is being paved by programs like NIXI and other private platforms.

Growth of ODR-

Using technology to support negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or a mix of these methods, online dispute resolution (ODR) is essentially a subset of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). ODR is frequently mistaken for or viewed as merely an online version of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). ODR used to be classified as a type of ADR, but these days it stands alone as a unique category of conflict resolution mechanism with a wide range of artificial intelligence capabilities applied to different kinds of disputes. It now includes small claims court, internet mediation, traffic infractions, code enforcement offenses, and domestic disputes in addition to minor criminal proceedings. Since the growth of e-commerce necessitated a stable system to run business operations online, ODR provided a solution to this issue. In 1996, the University of Massachusetts initiated the first ODR project endeavor. eBay began offering online mediation services for disagreements between buyers and sellers on its platform as a trial project in 1999. By 2010, the company was managing over sixty million disputes annually through ODR. Government interest in this new contribution to the dispute resolution ecosystem has grown as a result of the success of a few private ODR platforms.

Advantages of Online Dispute Resolution-

A notable benefit of alternative dispute resolution (ODR) over traditional court proceedings is its shorter duration. Due to the notable rise in the quantity of disputes pertaining to consumer transactions, difficulties, and other matters. It is both economically feasible and offers quick response. Traveling and being physically present has grown costly and complex in and of itself because arbitration requires physical processes that are frequently prohibited by geographical restrictions. ODR can help eliminate one of the major problems associated with regional constraint.

When opposed to traditional mediation, cyber-mediation has a number of drawbacks in addition to the previously mentioned benefits. Some people may have trouble accessing computers connected to the internet, particularly those who are embroiled in conflicts arising from transactions that took place offline. Additionally, people who are less adept at using computers or who are unable to compose lengthy written correspondence may be negatively impacted among many other things.

The Future of Online Dispute Resolution

Access to justice could be significantly transformed by ODR in the future. The efficiency and dependability of ODR systems could be further improved by technological developments like blockchain, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI). Tasks like document analysis, outcome prediction, and even negotiation facilitation can be aided by AI. The integrity of the dispute resolution process can be guaranteed by the capacity for transparent and safe record-keeping provided by blockchain technology. Arbitration and enforcement procedures might be made more efficient by using smart contracts, which act automatically when specific criteria are met. India can help itself transition to a future judicial system by investing in online dispute resolution (ODR) through the deployment of more sophisticated second generation technologies As has been the case with ODR thus far, newer technologies for the resolution of civil disputes—those that expand on superior economic principles in addition to legal ones—are anticipated to originate from the commercial sector. It is therefore essential that the administration and the court work together with these talents and implement them for the good of the public. The future of dispute resolution centers on technology and possibly artificial intelligence, despite how hard it may be to imagine. ODR may have a big impact on this by creating methods for a more objective assessment of legal linkages so that action can be taken quickly.



With its many advantages over traditional dispute resolution methods, including accessibility, affordability, and efficiency, online dispute resolution is a major paradigm change. ODR has the capacity to change the legal system and make it more inclusive and sensitive to the demands of contemporary society, even though there are still obstacles to overcome. While recent judicial rulings and changes have set India on the right track, we still need to encourage the adoption of ODR as the go-to method for resolving disputes. The potential and uses of ODR will grow as technology develops further. Through adoption of these innovations and resolution of related issues, interested parties can guarantee that ODR delivers on its promise to provide equitable, effective, and easily accessible conflict resolution for all.

Contributed by- Sri Moukthika

O.P. Jindal Global University (LLB 2023-26)

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