Frequently asked questions

 

What is ODR?

ODR is recognised internationally as a highly effective form of alternative dispute resolution. It combines the use of ADR processes such as mediation and arbitration, with technology.

It is increasingly used in many jurisdictions including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India. Hong Kong has recently announced an ODR Scheme as part of its measures to support individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mediation is where parties appoint an independent and impartial mediator to assist the parties to resolve differences or a dispute, or to agree a way forward. The mediator is independent and uses his or her expertise to help the parties try to find a resolution, and if necessary, record the terms of any agreement in a resolution agreement. The parties decide the outcome. The mediator does not make a decision or impose a solution on the parties. Nor does the mediator provide any legal advice.

Arbitration is where the parties jointly appoint an independent and impartial arbitrator with expertise in the subject matter of the dispute, to issue a legally binding and enforceable decision, which has the same effect as a court judgment.

Who can use ODR?

Anyone can use online mediation or arbitration.

For mediation, a key requirement is that someone authorised to make decisions participates in the process.

What type of disputes are suited to online dispute resolution?

ODR is suitable for a broad range of disputes including those listed below.

ODR processes can be used exclusively or, for more complex disputes which may involve a large number of participants or witnesses (arbitration only), it can be used in combination with face-to-face dispute resolution processes.

  • Access disputes
  • Boundary disputes
  • Building defects and construction disputes
  • Business to business disputes
  • Business to consumer disputes
  • Charitable organisations
  • Contract disputes
  • Company director disputes
  • Construction, energy and infrastructure
  • Corporate disputes
  • Damage to property
  • E-Commerce
  • Employement
  • Family business disputes
  • Health services
  • Lease disputes
  • Landlord and tenant disputes
  • Neighbour disputes
  • Partnership disputes
  • Personal injury and medical negligence
  • Planning disputes
  • Professional negligence / disputes with professional advisers
  • Sale of goods or servives
  • Shareholder disputes
  • Trades or independent contractor disputes such as those involving plumbers, electricians, joiners or cleaners
  • Wills, inheritance, estates and trusts
  • Workplace disputes
What are the key features of online mediation?

Voluntary. The parties agree to enter into negotiations, facilitated by an independent third party (the mediator), to attempt to resolve differences or a dispute.

Confidential. Parties are afforded the opportunity to have candid and open discussions. What is discussed in the mediation cannot be disclosed to parties not participating in the mediation, or in any subsequent proceedings such as court or arbitration proceedings.

Consensual. Parties agree to work together to try to find a solution or an agreed way forward.

Facilitative. The mediator is independent and uses their expertise to help the parties try to find a resolution, and if necessary, record the terms of any agreement in a resolution agreement. The parties decide the outcome. The mediator does not make a decision or impose a solution on the parties. Nor does the mediator provide any legal advice.

Flexible. We offer online video conference, telephone and e-mediation which can be done by email or via secure “channels” online. We can use one, or a combination, of these systems in any mediation.

More information can be found in our BODR Guide and CODR Guide.

What are the key features of online arbitration?

Decision maker. The parties jointly appoint  a neutral and impartial arbitrator with expertise in the subject matter of the dispute.

Legally binding. The arbitrator considers the information presented by the parties to reach a legally binding and enforceable decision, which has the same effect as a court judgment.

Certainty. The parties are guaranteed a decision within agreed timescales without the delays and costs of going to court. There are very limited rights to appeal the decision of an arbitrator under the Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010.

Confidential. The process is private and confidential.

Convenient. All communication and conferences are conducted online. If a video conference is requested by either party, it will be arranged quickly. Parties can upload video footage, for example, in place of physical site visits.

Informal. The parties and the arbitrator determine what procedures should be adopted, as required by the Scottish Arbitration Rules(contained within the Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010) or the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Scottish Short Form Arbitration Rules (for claims for less than £25,000 or on agreement of the parties).

More information can be found in our BODR Guide and CODR Guide.

What do I need?

A computer or laptop with a microphone and camera and an internet connection

A summary of your dispute in your own words for mediation.

Completion of the claim form and answers to the claim for arbitration.

Copies of any documents relevant to the dispute and requested by the mediator or arbitrator.

More details can be found in our BODR Guide, CODR Guide and our Application form.

How long will it take?

The flexibility afforded by ODR means we can start the process as soon as the parties are ready.

Usually we are able to conduct an online mediation within 2 – 4 weeks of the parties agreeing to mediate, and sometimes sooner. The mediation itself could take up to a day, split across at least two days. It is rare for a mediation to last less than 4 – 5 hours.

Online arbitration will be conducted as quickly as possible taking into account the needs of the parties. Our BODR fixed fee arbitration scheme guarantees a decision within 3 months of the arbitrator being appointed, but it may be possible to complete it quicker than this with the agreement of the parties. Our CODR scheme aims to provide a decision within 6 months of the arbitrator being appointed. 

Do I need to instruct a solicitor?

Our BODR scheme has been specifically designed to allow most businesses to present their own case without legal representation. You do not need to instruct a solicitor but you can if you would like to. 

Our CODR scheme envisages that the parties will usually have solicitors instructed. However, we will discuss each party’s requirements at the time of making an application in the event that legal representation has not been instructed.

Do I need to be an expert in the use of technology?

Absolutely not. 

The technology is very user friendly and easy to use. This is as important for our panel members as for the users of our services. We will also provide assistance to guide you through the process. 

How secure is ODR?

Privacy and security are of the utmost important when conducting online dispute resolution.

We use a secure market leading purpose-built platform called MODRON to manage the process including the sharing of documents, online meetings and sending invoices. It is end-to-end encrypted and two factor verification for all users.

We use Amiqus ID for onboarding parties to the dispute. Amiqus ID is a strategic partner of The Law Society of Scotland secure online client verification portal which enables us to verify the identity of the parties to the dispute.

For the electronic signing of the agreement to mediate or arbitration agreement and any resolution agreement from the mediation, we use Adobe Sign. This is a simple, easy to use, trustworthy and secure tool for the production of electronic signatues which comply with the eIDAS Regulation.

Squaring Circles

PHILOSOPHICAL MEANING – to see equally in four directions – up, down, in and out
METAPHORICAL MEANING – attempting anything that seems impossible

Squaring Circles

PHILOSOPHICAL MEANING – to see equally in four directions – up, down, in and out
METAPHORICAL MEANING – attempting anything that seems impossible