Litigation involves  negotiation between parties through their legal representatives. The essence of litigation is to address all issues raised by either party in the preliminary briefing. Parties are known to be slightly stressed prior to a verdict by the judge, due to fear of the unknown. Legal representatives have been are required to work tirelessly to ensure no stone is left un turned.

Landmark cases have been won, simply due to a significant fact which in some instances seemed insignificant initially. The act of springing up surprises is one of the strategies used by some legal representative to win cases. However, the courts are weary of this form of approach and are quick to raise the importance of disclosure. The US refers this as discovery, which fortunately is a massive industry and has expanded beyond the shores.

A number of companies are mandated to assist in the discovery exercise, and fortunately this has given the discovery industry a good ground  to think outside the box. In the UK, this is referred to as disclosure , which is equally an industry which is rapidly gaining some momentum.

It goes without saying, that disclosure is an integral factor in litigation. The importance of disclosing information in the form of documents,  lays the foundation for any worthwhile litigation. Thankfully, disclosure in a litigation case leads to transparency and accountability which obviously is imperative to a successful and satisfactory outcome to the parties.

Litigation continues to be the mainstream dispute resolution mechanism. However, in time Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has been a widely acceptable form of dispute resolution by litigation practitioners. Hereafter, just like everything in life, hence the continuous move, and this time to Online Dispute Resolution (ODR).

ODR the emerging concept, is one that takes quite a lot of its attributes in dispute resolution, initially from litigation and thereafter from ADR. With the growth and expansion of technology, ODR seeks to be secure and  flexible.

The ODR process as a medium of dispute resolution uses the negotiation support tool which is evident in the litigation procedure. In ODR, the negotiation support tool utilises  the provision of feedback, on the likely outcomes of the dispute if the negotiation fails through the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA).

The primary goal of the negotiation support tool procedure is to resolve existing conflicts using dialogue strategies/techniques. In the eventuality the issues are unable to be resolved, a compensation or trade-off process may be involved in order to resolve the disputes between the parties.

The process used in ODR varies and depends on a number of factors. However, a constant occurrence in ODR as a form of dispute resolution is the presence of negotiation, through technological tools.

ODR expansion is imperative in a fast-moving world. More discussions on this phenomenal method of dispute resolution will be taking place in Prague, Czechoslovakia Republic from the 27-29th June 2012. Speakers will explore and brain storm this exciting evolving concept.

What are your thoughts on ODR as a form of dispute resolution in the global stage?