Case Study – Online Dispute Resolution Pilot Project

The assignment

In 2011, the BC Ministry of Justice and Mediate BC Society co-sponsored an Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) pilot project to test new tools for resolving disputes.

To do the testing, they publicly sought out real people with real disputes.  The ODR service was offered to participants, for free, in exchange for their feedback, on the tools they used.

I was retained as case manager and online mediator for the pilot.

Work done

Leading ODR vendors were identified.  Demos of their products were provided to the pilot team.  A number of vendor tools were selected for use in the pilot.  The terms of their use, in the pilot, were negotiated with the vendors.

The primary source of ODR referrals were participating government agencies, who regularly interact with the public.  Other cases were identified directly, via social media channels.

Potential cases were forwarded to me.  I reviewed each case and confirmed with the disputing parties, their willingness to participate in the pilot.  After all, mediation is voluntary!

I assigned each case for resolution, via one of the ODR tools.  I oriented disputants to their assigned tool and how to use it.

Where facilitation of the dispute was required by a neutral 3rd party, i.e., mediator, using the selected ODR tool, I provided that mediation service.

In a case manager capacity, I maintained an inventory of cases, and reported on the case outcomes, with the project sponsors.

I also provided feedback to the project sponsors on the overall efficacy of the ODR processes and tools.