Your Mission: Create a Global Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) System

How do you create a global dispute resolution system? Its happening now.  Momentum is building to define a global Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) system to handle cross-border, low value disputes.  An ODR and Consumers 2010 Forum will be held in Vancouver on November 2 and 3, 2010 to keep the ball rolling.

ODR and Consumers 2010 Forum

Key organizers of the Forum include European Union, PayPal, ICANN (International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) Office of the Ombudsman, the National Centre for Technology and Dispute Resolution, the Canadian Centre for Court Technology (CCCT), and the Law Society of British Columbia. The Forum is being convened in response to recent proposals advanced by delegations to the United Nations (UNCITRAL) and the Organization of American States.

I’ve been following the initiative.  It is a fascinating one, requiring collaboration on diverse fronts; legal, cultural, privacy, technological

Recently, I guest posted to the Forum website, with this article: 10 Collaborative Principles for Leading a Successful ODR System initiative.  Check other articles, from other contributors, about the challenges of creating a global ODR system; including rules, implementation, and the obviously huge cultural challenges.

My interest in this stems from work I currently do as a Small Claims Court mediator in British Columbia, and work I did as an online mediator (2003-06) of eBay transaction disputes, using an application developed/maintained by SquareTrade.  eBay has largely taken the work in-house now, and with its innovative online Community Court, under the direction of Colin Rule, handles millions of transaction disputes annually.

The Vancouver ODR Forum is open.  If resolving disputes online is something you do (or want to do), consider attending.  The agenda looks great.  I may see you there.

What’s your take on cross-border solutions?


What’s your experience/observations re: cross-border solution initiatives? What are the key elements that have to be worked out in order for them to succeed? Or, on the flip side – why did it fail?

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to my blog. Thanks, Ben.

Picture credit: woodleywonderworks


  1. Ben,
    Perhaps a global dispute resolution system is only possible if there is a global transaction mechanism such as e-bay. Otherwise dispute resolution will be mared in issues of sovereignty, enforcement, cultural difference etc.

    What is also interesting is that EU is taking the lead in the ODR and consumers forum. I’m currious what will be the message of the people from Brussels.

    If you’re interested, visit our ODR project at: or the access to justice blog at:

  2. Ben Ziegler says

    Martin, thanks for checking in. Certainly eBay model seems a natural for global DRS – I am curious what consensus will emerge from the Vancouver Forum, and what other alternative (to eBay) considerations come to the forefront. Your comment re: EU also speaks to the cross-border work that the EU deals with on a regular basis. Obviously EU has a lot of experience with issues of sovereignty, cultural differences, etc. I hadn’t heard of your work – so thanks for sharing.


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