A digital revolution has arisen in the legal profession in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, where traditional methods of dispute resolution have been replaced with online dispute resolution (ODR).
Whilst the implementation of ODR promotes people’s health and safety by reducing potential transmission of the virus, there are numerous additional benefits of facilitating remote methods of dispute resolution. Virtual hearings, instant messaging and emails has brought a streamlined and flexible dimension to court procedures that should be utilised and embraced.
What are the benefits of virtual mediations?
The adoption of online dispute resolution (ODR) has seen benefits beyond the ability to resolve disputes throughout government restrictions and lockdowns. It has promoted a prompter and more affordable alternative to current dispute resolution processes. Especially when considering smaller claims or economic disputes, parties can now significantly save legal costs when compared to traditional methods.
VCAT and the Supreme Court of Victoria are conducting mediations through the Zoom video conferencing application which has increased accessibility to parties through the simplified procedures.
ODR also ensures that barriers such as geographical location, lack of transportation options or mobility are eradicated. In doing so, the costs incurred can be equally shared between respective parties, which provides an equal sense of ownership as well as stake in the resolution.
Increased efficiency and flexibility
ODR is a swift and convenient method for resolving disputes that can be adapted to fit individual needs and schedules including those of clients, employees, lawyers and stakeholders. By allowing parties to participate from anywhere, coordinating a time where both parties to a dispute are available has never been easier.
Many in-person methods of dispute resolution include time where an independent third party may speak directly to one party whilst the other party separately waits their turn. ODR allows for such discussions to occur in a private virtual room, allowing the other party to discuss the case in a separate room with their lawyer or complete personal or work-related tasks whilst they wait for their turn.
Virtual mediations also allow for flexible workplace arrangements for all.
Although there are certainly advantages to in-person, emotional engagement during a traditional non virtual mediation, the success of ODR amid the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates that ODR can be a useful tool to resolve disputes.
Creating a comfortable and safe virtual environment can encourage parties to participate more in dispute resolution, where they may otherwise have avoided due to inter-relational conflict.
Elit Lawyers by McGirr & Snell is a fully integrated and automated law firm with superior expertise in online legal procedures. We possess a deep understanding in alternative dispute resolution and can provide you with representation at mediations, compulsory conferences and court hearings in all jurisdictions.
We encourage everyone reading this article to embrace the unexpected freedoms of COVID-19 and the successful technological advancements that have come with it.
Do not hesitate to contact our founding partners Robert McGirr and Danielle Snell to discuss how we can assist you with your dispute / legal case.