The principle behind the establishment of Alternate Dispute Resolution System was to provide a mechanism for speedy resolution of dispute and to shed down the pendency of cases which surrounds the present judicial system. It was also established with the aim of reducing the cost of litigation by providing a resolution system which involves less procedure and faster settlement. Though the system has been accepted as a faster means of dispute resolution as compared to the traditional courts which haven’t evolved at all in the last couple of centuries, the cost and effectiveness of Arbitration are factors which scale down the advantages of Arbitration, as only those with deeper pockets can afford an Arbitrative clause of their choice and hence the effectiveness suffer in relation to the horizon that such alternate dispute resolution systems can cover.
The exponential advancement in the Technology sector and the invention of a decentralized transaction mechanism also known as Blockchain Technology has given rise to a concept called Online Dispute Resolution.Blockchain is the parent technology behind every cryptocurrency either in it’s ICO phaseor already established on different trading platform and exchanges. Blockchain is a technological solution based on the concept of “distributed ledger,” which essentially is a way of making sure changes to any piece of information on the ledger can happen only by consensus from the blockchain stakeholders.Another branch of digital advancement underlining the Blockchain Technology is the Smart Contract. Despite the Hype which has been created around it, the legal industry lacks the essential understanding of what a Smart Contract is and how it functions. Another related climber which evolved through the development in Blockchain Technology is the Crowd Jury and the Online Dispute Resolution System which already is being tried and implemented in some parts of China.Online Dispute Resolution is essentially an umbrella term which describes dispute resolution processes that are assisted by the use of Information Technology and Data Sources.The Proceedings can commence, court fees can be paid and all documents can be submitted via an online portal. Even the court notifications are delivered electronically and mediation between two parties can be conducted by telephone or video conference.Apart from this, even cross-examination of evidence are conducted online via a live-stream with parties attending remotely and a judge presiding over the computer monitor.Moreover, the transparency can be maintained as general public can also observe the proceedings via a live video feed.
Through this paper the researcher aims to throw light on the emerging trends in the Dispute Resolution Industry (specifically focusing on Arbitration) which have come into light through the advent of Blockchain and allied Technologies and how can India benefit itself from the same.
This is an ongoing research of Kshitij Asthana and is currently a working paper. The abstract is open for discussion and further research. To connect with the author, please click here.
Dylan McKimmie, Gemma Thomas, Rahul Thyagarajan, Online Dispute Resolution and Electronic Hearings, International Arbitration Report 2017,Issue 9 Noton Rose Fullbright (October 2017), http://www.nortonrosefulbright.com/files/20170925-international-arbitration-report-issue-9-157156.pdf
What is an ICO, Nasdaq (10thAugust 2017), https://www.nasdaq.com/article/what-is-an-ico-cm830484
China is the latest to unveil a fully online “cyberspace court” based in Hangzhou, the Chinese capital of e-commerce. See http://www.nortonrosefulbright.com/files/20170925-international-arbitration-report-issue-9-157156.pdf
International Arbitration Report 2017,Issue 9 Noton Rose Fullbright, October 2017. Available at http://www.nortonrosefulbright.com/files/20170925-international-arbitration-report-issue-9-157156.pdf