The e-Dispute system, which has already been successfully piloted at the European Court of Arbitration and the Emilia-Romagna Chamber of Commerce in Italy, is now being trialed at a number of hospitals in the UK where it is being used to assist with claim resolution.
Using e-Dispute, claimants and respondents can put their case before an independent online arbitrator (or "robot agent") who having reviewed the case will then set up a meeting between the two parties via chatrooms and video conferencing, at which possible binding settlements can be reached. Arbitration is a well-established alternative to contentious courtroom litigation for the resolution of commercial disputes. In general, it is quicker, simpler and incurs lower costs without disadvantaging the parties. The idea behind having an online arbitration system is that as well as being relatively inexpensive it allows organisations involved in international disputes to find a neutral venue in which to air their problems.
"Robot agents digest all the information and make proposals to the parties. Once the arbitrator is agreed upon, the robot agent finds a suitable meeting date for everybody," said Jacques Gouimenou, managing director of Tiga Technologies, the company behind e-Dispute, speaking with ElectricNews.Net. "Our system reduces delays and costs. It is also very secure."
The current version of e-Dispute includes a number of online collaboration tools including video, audio, live-chat, e-forum, text and transcript capabilities with full case management, fact assessment, analysis, and weighted issue/interesting variables.
Aside from the fact that it could be a lot cheaper than paying lawyers, a lot less confrontational and lengthy than a court proceeding, this is obviously a situation where there can be no charges of bias on behalf of the arbitrator. It would be especially useful in situations where one or both sides can't find a trusted third party.
Obviously, it may not be so useful in resolving ethical dilemas. So judges need not fear for their jobs - yet.