Online Dispute Resolution In Asian Countries

Online dispute resolution (ODR) is an emerging dispute resolution mechanism. It uses information technology for effective and speedier dispute resolution. Online dispute resolution in India (ODR in India) is also gaining momentum but the pace of its growth and adoption is very slow.

Overall, the use of ODR in Asian Countries is not very good if we exclude few exceptional countries. Indian business environment is not great in the absence of suitable dispute resolution mechanism. The traditional litigation method of India is a real deterrent to bring foreign direct investments and foreign companies into India to do business.

Dispute resolution in cross border technology transactions is an area that has tremendous potential. However, ODR in India is facing many legal roadblocks that are preventing India from deriving benefit out of such disputes. There is an urgent need of International harmonisation of ODR norms and standards.

At the International Level, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is working in the direction of providing a “harmonised legal framework” for ODR. There are very few “ODR Providers” in India and, unfortunately, none of them are part of the recently constituted “Working Group on ODR” of UNCITRAL. This would “drastically reduce” the changes of “adequate and forceful representation” to be made to the Government of India for suggesting use of ODR in India.

Even the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism of India needs suitable rejuvenation. For instance, the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 of India needs an urgent amendment to make it conducive for effective and speedier alternative dispute resolution in India.

While the European countries and developed countries are adequately utilising ODR yet Asian countries and developing countries are lagging far behind. If India wishes to be a global hub for ADR and ODR, it has to work really hard in this direction.