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Online Dispute Resolution and the Future of ADR: Lessons Learned from ECODIR The Electronic Consumer Dispute Resolution Project Brian Hutchinson Vice Dean, School of Law University College Dublin Ireland Project Supervisor, ECODIR. What is ECODIR? E lectronic Co nsumer Di spute R esolution

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Online Dispute Resolution and the Future of ADR:Lessons Learned from ECODIRThe Electronic Consumer Dispute Resolution ProjectBrian HutchinsonVice Dean, School of LawUniversity College DublinIrelandProject Supervisor, ECODIR

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What is ECODIR?
    • Electronic Consumer Dispute Resolution
    • B2C
    • Research Project
    • Supported by EU & Irish Government
    • www.ecodir.org
  • Why?
    • Consumer Confidence in e-commerce
    • Access to justice for consumers
    • Could it work?
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Centre de Recherches Informatique et Droit, Namur, Belgium

EU Commission

DG SANCO

Centre dEtudes sur la Cooperation Juridique Internationale, CNRS, Paris, France

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Centre De Recherche en Droit Publique, University of Montreal, Canada

Arbitration of International Disputes Ltd

CITA, Univ. Notre Dame de la Paix, Belgium

GlobalSign, Belgium

Institut fur Informations-Telekommunikations-und Medienrecht, Meunster, Germany

CMAP – Centre de Mediation et d’Arbitrage de Paris, France

Centre d’Estudis de Dret i Informatica, de Balears, Spain

OnlineResolution, USA

National Arbitration Forum, USA

methodology
Methodology

Survey of Offline ADR and Consumers Groups

  • Confidence and Confidentiality
  • Efficiency
  • Cost
  • Effectiveness
  • Language
  • Fairness and Transparency

SOCIO-ECONOMIC STUDY

LEGAL STUDY

TECHNICAL STUDY

PILOT STUDY

methodology1
Methodology

EC Recommendations 98/257/EC and 2001/310/EC.

Contractual Nature of ADR

  • Consensus
  • Mandatory Norms

Rights-based v.s Interest-based solutions

Enforceability of solutions

SOCIO-ECONOMIC STUDY

LEGAL STUDY

TECHNICAL STUDY

PILOT STUDY

methodology2
Methodology

The ECODIR Process

Achieved through Rules and Technology

Adversarial / Legalistic Solutions Avoided

SOCIO-ECONOMIC STUDY

LEGAL STUDY

Structured Negotiation

TECHNICAL STUDY

Mediation

PILOT STUDY

Recommendation

methodology3
Methodology

Pilot Study – Proof of Concept

Oct 2001 – May 2002

Feb 2003 – June 2003

www.ecodir.org

Dissemination & Follow -up

SOCIO-ECONOMIC STUDY

LEGAL STUDY

TECHNICAL STUDY

PILOT STUDY

indications
Indications
  • Levels of Activity
    • Case Numbers
      • Low to begin with
      • Analysis of 51 Cases Filed to 28 June, 2003
      • Some test cases
      • 23 appear not test
      • From within this 23 were 2 settlements
    • Level not surprising,
      • Not unlike levels for offline consumer adr;
      • But does indicate that there is little automatic/unsolicited demand.
    • More surprising that settlements were reached by parties having no special or prior knowledge of ECODIR
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Locations of the parties:

50% +/- involving cross border disputes

nature of the dispute
Nature of the Dispute

A high proportion concerned non-deliveryof goods or services

reactions
Reactions
  • Consumer Reps Consulted
    • Eg: Director of Consumer Affairs; European Consumer Centre Dublin; Consumer Associations of Ireland and abroad
  • Benefits perceived by Consumers:
      • Transparency and control of process
      • Ease of access and use
  • Business Associations Consulted
    • Eg: Internet Retailers Association; Small and Medium Sized Enterprises; Direct Marketing Federation:
  • Benefits perceived by Businesses
    • Potential for Increased efficiency in customer relations management
    • Potential for Added value for customers
    • Potential “Savings and increased business”
impediments and challenges
Impediments and Challenges
  • Lack of cooperation by the second party…
    • Little
      • Awareness
      • Trust
      • Of Ecodir, of ODR, of ADR!
  • ODR as a tool for advancing ADR?
  • Pan European Solutions? Cross Sectoral Solutions?
issues and perspectives
Issues and Perspectives

How to get businesses “to play”?

  • Prove Added Value!
  • Present ODR as an element of complaints handling and customer relations management
  • Present consumer demand for ODR
  • Present regulatory need for ODR
  • Prove efficiency and savings to business processes
  • Prove increased customer loyalty / activity
improving efficiency
Improving Efficiency
  • Prepopulated References
  • Unique Identifiers
  • Timeline Monitoring
  • Data analysis – more complete data
issues and perspectives1
Issues and Perspectives

How to sustain ODR services?

  • Case generated revenue unlikely to sustain in short term.
  • Licence right to display “brand” (trustmark) and use process to businesses.
    • Necessitates a trust mark business model
    • Proliferation of trustmarks
  • Co-funding between State, Business and Consumer bodies?
  • Specialised focus particular markets / customers
    • Narrows access
  • Combination of the above
possibilities for government official involvement
Possibilities for Government / Official Involvement
  • Promoting awareness of ADR and ODR – including using ADR & ODR
  • Cybercourts using online processes?
  • Cyber Appeals from ODR?
  • Accreditation of ODR providers?
  • Establishing clearing houses networks?
  • Funding and Co-Funding?
  • Requiring mandatory use of ODR in some licensing processes?
  • “Kehl Initiatives”
future steps for ecodir
Future Steps for Ecodir
  • End-user pilot project involving consumer centre and business associations.
  • EEJ-NET
  • Co-operation in E-Government initiatives in Ireland and Europe
for further information please contact

For further information please contact:

Brian Hutchinson,

Tel: +353 1 716 8756 / 8754 Fax:+353 1 269 2655

E-mail: [email protected] / [email protected]

School of Law, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland

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