Friday, June 24, 2011

Online Dispute Resolution In Asia

Online dispute resolution (ODR) is the buzz word these days for resolution of various sorts of disputes. ODR is effective, efficient, cost effective and expeditious in nature. However, despite the benefits of ODR, the same is not very popular among the Asian countries.

Even in Indian context, there are very few ODR service providers in India and ODR in India is facing severe legal and technical roadblocks. The arbitration and conciliation act 1996 is the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) law of India. It has served its purpose and it deserves to be replaced by a new and better law that can accommodate ODR as well.

Further, the role of ICT in effective judicial system is also apparent. Technological innovations like e-courts can greatly help in streamlining the aged and collapsing judicial system of India. In the Indian context, we are still waiting for the establishment of first e-court of India.

E-courts require the capability and expertise to provide all litigation services in an online environment. To achieve that purpose we need to have e-courts skills development initiatives in India.

Indian government has recently approved the proposal of Law Ministry to operationalise the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms. The National Mission will focus on improvement in administration of justice and justice delivery and legal reforms in the entire country and it has to address diverse needs of all sections of stakeholders in a Mission Mode approach.

However, despite having sufficient permissions and grants for use of technology in the form of ODR and e-courts, there are no positive outcomes. Lack of expertise and political will seems to be the two major reasons for failure of ODR and e-courts in India.

Asian countries must replicate the successful models of Singapore in the fields of ODR and e-courts. We have talked enough in India and it is high time for us to act now.