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Online Dispute Resolution (ODR): The Great Tool in Times of Pandemic

by Alberto Elisavetsky, Maria Victoria Marun

May 2020

Those of us who have been working for many years, not only in the academic field, but also in a practical way in On Line Dispute Resolution (ODR), that we call on line or electronic, feel that in these times "the future is here.”

And the people will ask us, why do we say that the future is here. Because in many congresses and conferences that we have attended for several years they asked us about the advantages of the ODR system. And we always said and now continue saying that the ODR system, among its many advantages, allows for getting a more effective, and efficient administration of justice. And we realized that many people did not understand what we were talking about. We have met people for whom the idea of resolving conflicts remotely was based on a phone call, emails, Skype communications, etc. And they thought it was enough. They did not understand that the Administration of Justice should be prepared to be efficient and effective in times of emergency.

Covid19 had to appear in the world to awaken many minds. When the situation demanded worldwide to implement a compulsory isolation measure in order to avoid the proliferation of infections, with the suspension of essential activities such as the management of education, justice and so many others, the conviction that in the field of justice we must be prepared to continue working, to continue being efficient and effective began to appear timidly. and ODR / RDL appears as the great tool for these purposes.

Because all of us who play an advocacy role in society, whether academically, science, politics, etc., must reflect on how the emergency measures that governments need to establish will affect the human rights of the inhabitants. For example, Amnesty International has made preliminary observations on the international obligations of States. Independent UN experts have warned that emergency measures should not be used to suppress human rights. And academics have written about how states should respond from the perspective of the right to health and other social rights, and freedom of movement and other civil rights. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet in a press release emphasized that "human rights must be at the forefront and at the center of the response" to the Coronavirus. Bachelet also stressed the importance of respect for civil and political rights during the crisis, noting that "an emergency situation does not represent a blank check to disregard human rights obligations." "Emergency measures must be necessary and proportionate to meet that need”. And, access to justice is an inalienable right for any human being, especially in areas of human life that do not admit delays, such as family law, where extreme emergency instances on the vulnerable situation of children and / or adolescents cannot wait.

With this situation, the ODRs emerge as a contribution with which ICTs have established the Information Society, as a “community that extensively and optimally uses the opportunities generated by new technologies for the personal and professional development of citizens. . . ODRs / RDLs appear as the great tool to sustain efficiency in the administration of justice in times of pandemic.

And we contribute this reflection based on the path that we have been walking for several years. Dr. Alberto Elisavetsky, developed a service and training project in Online Dispute Resolution (ODR), SIMEDIAR, which became a pioneering company in the field of remote conflict prevention and management and in the use of knowledge and information technologies in Argentina AND Latin America. It offers fast and low-cost options to resolve conflicts with an interdisciplinary team of professionals in ODR identified with ethical values and principles and with a vocation for service, committed to contributing to the construction of peace in the digital age. SIMEDIAR offers dispute resolution services through an ethical, effective, impartial and independent administration of procedures related to ODR. It also provides online conflict prevention and management training and update services. Also, Dr. Elisavetsky is the founder of ODR Latin America and CEO of a great academic team, with whom he began in 2012 a path of awareness and accompaniment in the use of ODR in the field of Justice, beginning in the Province of Salta, Argentina. In this project, ODR Latin America carried out online and face-to-face training, developing technological skills in virtual mediation, of more than 120 mediators from the registry of that province. Among them, around seventy community workers were able to bring the model to their territories with such success that it was later shared with other provinces of Argentina.

Later, the Province of Córdoba and its Alternative Methods for conflict resolution Direction (Di.M.A.R.C.), joined to the ODR Latin America training trajectory in ODR. ODR Latin America also assisted the government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires on the MEL (Online Mediation Program), providing the training program and the contribution of cutting-edge professional mediation software. This program has been established as a simple and accessible social inclusion device.

ODR Latin America followed its course of training and awareness of the advantages of ODR, not only in Argentina, but also in different countries of America: Mexico in its states of, Nueva León Guanajuato, Monterey, Sinaloa, Tlaxcala, State of Mexico, Brazil, Chile etc.

And, we have reached the month of March of this year 2020, when the world has been “paralyzed” because of COVID19, forcing governments to suspend activities, even the most essential ones, such as the management of Justice and Education, leaving only those related to Public safety, health and food provision. But, as we have said previously, access to justice is an inalienable human right and justice must continue to be administered in an effective and efficient way. And it is now, when everyone has recognized the advantages of ODR / RDL, as a great tool to continue allowing access to justice for all inhabitants in these times of pandemic. For this reason, ODR Latin America continues in this mission of preparing, training and raising awareness among the Public and Private Organizations of Argentina, Latin America and Spain, simultaneously carrying out training courses for Judicial Mediators of the Province of Mendoza, Argentina, in Chile, Brazil, Mexico and Spain.- After a long time studying, preparing, testing, raising awareness, the future is here. A pandemic situation has passed us worldwide, which requires us to work from home. We must continue to provide efficient and effective Justice, ... we can say with absolute certainty and conviction that ODR IS THE GREAT TOOL IN TIMES OF PANDEMIC.

ENDNOTES
BACHELET Michelle, NOTICIAS ONU- 09/04/2020 https://news.un.org/es/story/2020/04/1472682
ELISAVETSKY, Alberto “LA MEDIACION A LA LUZ DE LAS NUEVAS TECNOLOGIAS - Ed. Erreius 2019
ELISAVETSKY Alberto - PROGRAMA DE MEDIACION EN LINEA- http://odrlatinoamerica.com/programa-mediacion-linea-mel-del-gobierno-la-ciudad-buenos-aires/
TALAVERA HERNÁNDEZ, J.A., “La figura del mediador en la mediación online”, Revista Aranzadi de Derecho y Nuevas Tecnologías, núm., 38, 2015, pp. 203-230


Dr. Alberto Elisavetsky is the Founder and Director of Online Dispute Resolution Latin-American, the Director of Social Conflict Observatory, National University of Tres de Febrero Buenos Aires Argentina, the Chairman of e-MARC Alternative Dispute Resolution Worldwide Online Spanish Congress, the scientific committee member of the Master in Conflict Resolution University Degli Studi Di Padova Italy, the Co-Director of “School mediation program” University of Las Palmas of the Gran Canaria Spain, the Founder and CEO of “Simediar” - an online mediation simulation project , and the Cyber ??week coordinator of the Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese chapters.

SPANISH VERSION

Dr. Alberto Elisavetsky is the Founder & Director of Online Dispute Resolution Latinoamerica (odrla), Director of the Conflict Observatory of the National University Tres de Febrero - Argentina, Member of the Center for New Technologies Applied to Dispute Resolution in the United States. (NCTDR), Executive President of e-MARC World Remote Congress in Spanish on Appropriate Methods of Conflict Resolution, Member of the Scientific & Computer Committee of the Master in Conflict Resolution of the Degli Studi Di Padova Italy, Co-Director of the Mediation Program in the Educational Field University of Las Palmas de la Gran Canaria, General Director of Virtual Events, interactive distance education services, Creator & Technological Director Simediar, simulation project of distance mediations,

Maria Victoria Marun
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