No one enjoys going to trial. The Court can be an extremely stressful environment, and it’s historically associated with time-consuming processes that can interfere with daily life. Of course, the Justice System is crucial in America and in countries throughout the world. Court trials provide the opportunity for both sides of a disagreement to make their case before others who will ultimately determine the outcome. For many, however, if the option to avoid trial arises, it will be accepted graciously. This typically occurs in civil cases, and occasionally for simple misdemeanors. In today’s more remote environment, Online Dispute Resolution is one of the most popular settlement options. Resolve Disputes Online (RDO), is a platform dedicated to online settlement, and today we want to cover the four main ways it can be used to help reach decisions outside of the courtroom.
As you can see from the Mediation section, Resolve Disputes Online and similar Online Dispute Resolution platforms are excellent for negotiation. RDO’s system allows parties to send negotiation “documents” back and forth until a compromise is reached. Typically, negotiation takes place either in-person (which can become heated quickly), or over various days, weeks, or even months in the form of meetings or mailed offers. RDO drastically reduces the time it takes to reach a settlement by keeping all aspects of negotiation in a centralized location. Parties can meet virtually with one another and/or the mediator, and offers can be crafted, edited, and sent over whenever a new proposal arises. There is minimal hassle to get everything done, meaning the process is far less stressful and parties will be in a better head space to reach a fair and equitable settlement when all is said and done. Negotiation will always be a major strength of the RDO platform, and we are confident that more Courts will adopt it in the near future as a means to expedite the settlement process.
The first and most common use for Resolve Disputes Online is online mediation. Mediation involves the use of a neutral, unbiased third party to assist in reaching a settlement agreement. Both sides will present their case including the reason for dispute, desired outcome, evidence, and other necessary information to the mediator.
From there, based on what has been shown to them, the mediator will suggest the first step in negotiation. They will act as the middleman throughout the process helping the participants to reach a mutually satisfying agreement. Resolve Disputes Online makes this entire process digital, enabling all involved parties to join from the comfort of their home or office rather than in a courtroom. Many Courts are even starting to require mediation attempts before a case will be considered since many civil cases can be solved with monetary negotiations without clogging up the trial system.
Online Mediation can be a great choice for any case involving high emotions. By keeping the parties separate and safely behind their device, RDO can help avoid escalations that might occur if the parties met in person. In some cases, an online platform can be the difference between showing up or not, ensuring everyone has a fair shot at justice. The Mediation aspect of the Resolve Disputes Online platform supports digital negotiation, including the back-and-forth often associated with reaching a compromise. The mediator is there along the way, ensuring all offers are fair based on the evidence of the case, and helping parties work through their bias to calmly settle in a timely manner. Some of the most common Online Mediation cases include:
- Divorce settlements
- Insurance claims
- General disputes
In contrast to Mediation, Arbitration places all power in the hands of the third party. Rather than assisting with the negotiation, an arbitrator is the deciding factor for the case. In most cases, what the arbitrator says goes. However, there are cases of “non-binding” arbitration, in which the parties can disagree with the results and opt to move to trial.
Resolve Disputes Online makes everything digital, once again avoiding in-person trials. Arbitration is typically used when parties do not wish to participate in a back-and-forth discussion, when it is clear the two sides will never reach a comprise on their own, or when results are wanted faster. Online Dispute Resolution with arbitration is easy to use for all involved and provides convenient in product features such as sharing (or restricting) information, settlement drafting, messaging/video conferencing and much more all designed to help reach a faster settlement. Some of the most common types of cases that use arbitration include:
- Child custody cases – typically non-binding
- Employer/employee disputes
- Cases involving enterprise companies
- Property disputes
The last major use case for Online Dispute Resolution is asynchronous trials. This is a relatively new and evolving use for the platform, but it is quickly becoming one of the most popular and valuable. Essentially, an asynchronous trial is one where there is no live interaction with the judge. This type of trial allows involved parties to participate on their own schedule via a compatible device. Asynchronous trials have gained popularity since the pandemic’s influence on the ways Courts operate. People are now expecting digital options in the courtroom, and those are not always possible in a synchronous way (aka live and in real-time). Things like video testimony are considered asynchronous, and while they do hinder the ability to respond to questions in the moment, they are making the Court more accessible and less intrusive to daily life.
If someone is unable to appear in Court, they can utilize Resolve Disputes Online for asynchronous hearings. All information will be available within the platform for review at a later date/time. Should a party get sick or have another condition/circumstance preventing them from appearing in Court, asynchronous trials can be employed to still give them their fair shot at Justice. There are a few rules and regulations regarding asynchronous trials, so be sure to look into your area’s legislation to see if they are available and which types of cases can be seen in this manner. We will be discussing asynchronous trials more thoroughly in an upcoming blog, so stay tuned for more information. Online Dispute Resolution is an extremely versatile tool changing the way Courts function. With platforms like Resolve Disputes Online, it is easy to participate in mediation, arbitration, or asynchronous trials without having to worry about security or accessibility. RDO is a market-leading platform, and ImageSoft is honored to be the North American partner offering its services to Courts across the nation. To learn more about RDO, please visit https://resolvedisputes.com/. As always, reach out to the team if you have any questions or would like to see a demo.