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Like any other sector, the legal sector in India has also come to a standstill because of the lockdown, which has been implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19. Courts across the country are hearing just important cases because of the lockdown. Needless to say, countless legal proceedings have come to a halt. To ensure that legal proceedings don’t come to a halt and social distancing is also maintained to contain spread of COVID-19, a 26-year-old Nagpur lawyer is of the opinion that Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) and use of AI for legal proceedings is the need of the hour.
Mallika Goenka Yaduka, who did her LLM in Comparative and International Dispute Resolution from Queen Mary University, London, and now practices at Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court, says that ODR is the future of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR). Mallika also says that use of Artificial intelligence (AI) can make the job of lawyers and legal professionals simpler, faster and more productive.
Explaining the concept of Online Dispute Resolution, Mallika says, “Online dispute resolution is a branch of dispute resolution, which facilitates resolution of disputes by application of communication and information technologies to arbitration, mediation and conciliation mechanism. In ODR, parties try to solve the disputes by an agreement made online by submitting their disputes to an online arbitrator, as it is suitable for those who are involved in the disputes and are operating globally.”
Speaking as to how ODR and AI complement each other, Mallika says, “ODR might also support and enable the progress and development of AI and eventually help it flourish. With the help of ODR and AI, disputants may not be required at all to meet in person. The proceedings can happen remotely with the help of a simple internet connection. Currently, there are expert systems, which are labelled and programmed by the experts in the field and possess rule-based algorithms to assist the program and make decision based on the information received by the parties. Thus, considering this advancement of the technology, it’s safe to say that AI decision-making is already being used within the field of ODR.
However, these developments also suggest that the further expansion of AI in the field of ADR and the legal system is likely, although it depends on the effective usage of the techniques of AI, as only then it can be feasible for the introduction of AI in the court system.
It is necessary that to enhance the efficiency, the ODR administrator must promptly:
→ Accept or acknowledge any receipt of the communication by the ODR platform
→ The communication received by the ODR platform must be communicated to the party promptly and
→ The parties must be kept informed of the commencement and the conclusion of the different stages of the proceedings
The commencement of the proceedings requires the following details and data:
→ To act in the ODR proceedings the name and electronic address of the claimant and of the claimant’s representatives is
→ The grounds of the claim
→ Solution proposed to resolve the disputes
→ Preferred language of proceeding as per claimant
→ The identification and the authentication of the claimant and claimant’s representative is required such as signature under ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) rules of Arbitration. Although, writing requirement does not mean traditional method of writing requirement but also to an electronic record as defined in uniform electronic transaction. These rules are enough to hold the telephonic, video conference and to send the notices to the parties and calculation of the time
→ Communication response of the ODR is required to be given to the administrator within a reasonable time of the claimants notice on the ODR platform.
→ If the claimants are taking any other remedies it should be provided with the notice.
However, by using more diverse methods of AI in service, one can achieve more innovative technologies in the services with added value. Therefore, the involvement of AI in ODR may help in the development of the ODR processes that will also deal with the problems such as multi party contracts, multi issues etc.
The ODR environment should be foreseen as a virtual space, where the disputants have a variety of dispute resolution tools available, so that the party can use any dispute resolution tool they may consider appropriate. It should be considered as a three-step model.
Firstly, the negotiation support tool should provide a feedback. Secondly, the tools should resolve the conflicts using argumentation and dialogue techniques. And finally, if the parties are not satisfied and the dispute is not resolved in two steps then the tool should use the decision analysis techniques and compensation trade of techniques to facilitate resolution of the dispute.
Therefore, considering the changing times and the need of an hour, if the involvement of AI in the legal sector is giving rise to a quicker, better and more widely available and cheaper services, then this innovation should be supported and this is the time to start to revolutionize dispute by ODR.”