India Must Encourage Use Of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Now

Online Dispute Resolution

Online dispute resolution (ODR) is the technology counterpart of traditional alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism. In traditional ADR methods arbitration, mediation and conciliation are used to settle the disputes outside the court. But of late even ADR has become a troublesome process. The shortcomings of ADR are that it is expensive, time consuming and lacks a finality in many cases. Despite the granting of awards by the Arbitrators, matters are dragged to the courts and this further increases the cases for the already overburdened courts.

Most of the problems associated with the ADR can be resolved by using ODR. For instance, use of ODR is not only instantaneous, cost efficient but even can be managed within a period of 6 to 12 months. However, the best advantage of ODR is that it can be used by the stakeholders even if they are residing in different parts of the world. They need not to travel to the venue of Arbitration as the same is an online portal that can be accessed from the comfort of homes of the parties. Also documentation is more effectively managed in ODR as all documents are in electronic form that can be preserved for a longer duration and in a better quality. They can be easily accessed by the stakeholders and can be transferred from one jurisdiction to another within a minute time.

Clearly ODR has many advantages that our traditional ADR lacks. However, implementing a sound and user friendly ODR portal is a big challenge. We not only need skilled and techno legal expert Arbitrators to handle complicated cases of Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Law, Cyber Security, Internet of Things, etc but we also need Arbitrators who can comfortably work upon different platforms and technologies. This is the reason why ODR has not been successful so far in not only India but even in developed nations.

We at PTLB Projects LLP decided to change this scenario for India and to make India a global hub for Techno Legal Services. PTLB Projects is managing few ODR Projects that can be used by Indian Government and various stakeholders. We decided to solve four complicated problems that are responsible for non use of ODR in India. First, we needed an online platform that can be used by various stakeholders for ODR purposes. So we launched the ODR Portal for all stakeholders that can be easily used by global stakeholders. Secondly, we needed Techno Legal Experts to manage the ODR portal and since we have more than 15 years of experience in Techno Legal fields, even this problem has been solved. Third, we need to spread awareness about ODR in India and ensure that stakeholders are suitably trained in this regard. So we launched a pro bono portal for ODR where stakeholders have been taking our ODR services free of cost. We have already helped in resolving many online disputes using our pro bono ODR portal. At the same time, we have launched a dedicated ODR Training Portal so that techno legal ODR training can be provided to various stakeholders. This training would be managed by the Virtual Campus of PTLB where online skills development in various Techno Legal fields is provided. We even outlined the entire process of using our ODR portal that hardly takes 2 minutes to use. So public awareness and training aspects have also been taken care of. Fourthly, we have arranged for a system through our TeleLaw  Project where everything from the drafting of an Agreement carrying our ODR Clause to the final and conclusive disposal of a dispute would be taken care of. In other words, you can safely and comfortably concentrate upon your business and ventures while we take care of all your potential future disputes from scratch to the end.

Also we believe that a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model is required to make ODR popular among Government departments and offices. That needs a higher level of research and development, interaction, networking, etc. That is why we have launched world’s first Techno Legal Centre Of Excellence For Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) In India (TLCEODRI). It would prove to be the crucial initiative that would put India on the map of global ODR services. The TLCEODRI is also planning for a global expansion and very soon we would disclose the names and details of our global partners in this regard.

Recently Indian Government took a major decision to improve ADR and ODR environment of India by encouraging institutional arbitration in India. It enacted the The New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Act, 2019 (Pdf). That is a very crucial step to make India a global hub for institutional arbitration. We at PTLB Projects wish to take it another step ahead. We are working to make India a Global Hub for Techno Legal and ODR Services. Now we have both regulatory framework and an implementable model for ODR in India. We at PTLB Projects and Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) request Indian Government to collectively work in this direction.

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Cyber Arbitration Trends In India 2017 By TLCEODRI

Cyber Arbitration Trends In India 2017 By TLCEODRIDisputes resolution is a tricky affair for all stakeholders including courts, government, companies, individuals, international organisations, etc. This is more so where conflict of law is involved as different countries may have different laws for dispute resolution. As a result international commercial disputes faced many difficulties for their resolutions in the early days. To reduce the hardships of such disputes, countries adopted a model code of conduct that was incorporated in their respective domestic laws. The advent of harmonised alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods like arbitration and mediation is a result of such international codification.

For instance, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) has adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration in 1985. The UNCITRAL has also adopted the UNCITRAL Conciliation Rules in 1980. The General Assembly of the United Nations has recommended the use of the said Model Law and Rules in cases where a dispute arises in the context of international commercial relations and the parties seek an amicable settlement of that dispute by recourse to conciliation.

India has also incorporated these uniform principles of alternative dispute resolution in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 that was amended in the year 2015. The Arbitration Act provides for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms like arbitration, conciliations etc for national and international stakeholders.

Nevertheless, the Arbitration Act has still not considered the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for dispute resolution in the desired manner. For instance, online dispute resolution (ODR) is still missing from the Indian scenario despite the Arbitration Act. Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) has been advocating use of ODR in India since 2004. We have also been managing the exclusive Techno Legal Centre of Excellence for online Dispute Resolution in India (TLCEODRI) since 2012.

The main objective of TLCEODRI is to promote and use ODR in India for various dispute resolution purposes. After 13 years of dedicated services and efforts, we can safely claim that ODR would see active use in the coming years in India. To help national and international ODR stakeholders, TLCEODRI has also drafted an “ODR Clause” that they can use in their agreements, contracts, etc. We have also launched a dedicated blog for ODR training along with an ODR discussion forum where techno legal aspects would be discussed for the first time in ODR’s history. ODR experts and specialists wishing to enroll with TLCEODRI can also see the empanelment procedure in this regard. Above all, TLCEODRI has launched the first ever techno legal ODR portal of India that is covering vast dispute resolution fields. The portal is known as Online Disputes Resolution & Cyber Arbitration Portal of TLCEODRI where ODR is used to resolve dispute of national and international stakeholders.

For those stakeholders who are interested in use of ODR and cyber arbitration in India in 2017, we are providing some insights and trends through this article. These are as follows:

(1) Techno Legal Norms: The year 2017 would see formulation of techno legal norms by Indian government, arbitral institutions and ODR institutions. Laws like Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act 2000), Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996, etc would see further amendments in the year 2017 to accommodate online dispute resolution (ODR) and cyber arbitration in India. TLCEODRI is already in the process of making public its techno legal rules and regulations for ODR services and cyber arbitration in India. In short, a basic level legal framework would be put in place in the year 2017 for ODR and cyber arbitration.

(2) PPP Based ODR Models: Indian government would encourage public private partnership (PPP) based ODR and cyber arbitration models in the year 2017. This is natural as Indian government is yet to brace ODR and cyber arbitration.

(3) Consolidation Of ODR Segment: Consolidation of ODR and cyber arbitration industry would also take place in the year 2017. There are some cyber arbitration and dispute resolution players working in India for some time but actual working models are still missing. The startups and entrepreneurship trends of India 2017 have already predicted increased use of ODR and e-courts in India in 2017.

(4) Digital Disputes: Indian government’s focus upon digital projects like digital India, e-governance, etc would increase digital disputes in the year 2017. As on the date, neither the regulatory framework nor the online dispute resolution infrastructure is in place to tackle such high number of digital disputes. Indian government is working on these fronts, and till the end of 2017 we may see some positive developments on these fronts.

(5) Consumer Protection In Cyberspace: Consumer protection in cyberspace would be one of the top priorities of Indian government in 2017. The focus would be upon cyber arbitration and online dispute resolution of various consumer disputes. A time bound dispute resolution mechanism would be put in place by Indian government in 2017. Even consumer courts/forums would be accessible through online means in 2017 and aggrieved consumers can file their complaints from any part of India. However, this model would not be a fully fledged one but would consist of first stage of dispute resolution only.

(6) E-Commerce Disputes: The year 2017 would see a big growth in use of ODR for resolution of e-commerce disputes in India. No smart e-commerce player would be interested in keeping public grievances and disputes pending and unresolved. Further, e-commerce companies could also not afford negative reviews that are generated due to unresolved consumer disputes. Cyber arbitration and ODR would be of tremendous help to such e-commerce players, dissatisfied customers, etc.

(7) International Commercial Arbitration: International commercial arbitration can be the biggest winner by using cyber arbitration and ODR in India. This is more so on the fields of cross border technology transactions and cross border e-commerce transactions. TLCEODRI has been working in this direction for the past few years and international e-commerce and technology companies can have a firsthand experience of the same here. Interested national and international stakeholders can contact us in this regard and avail the techno legal cyber arbitration and ODR services of TLCEODRI.

TLCEODRI hopes that national and international stakeholders would find the cyber arbitration trends of India 2017 useful.

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International Commercial Arbitration In India

International Commercial Arbitration In IndiaIndia has been witnessing an e-commerce boom and increased amount of foreign direct investment. Recently Indian government clarified about the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) In E-Commerce Sector Of India 2016. Parliament of India has also passed the Insolvency And Bankruptcy Code, 2016 to ensure ease of doing business in India. Despite the increasing inflow of foreign capital in the Indian economy, India’s potential to attract FDI from the world has not yet been fully trapped. This is happening because India lacks an efficient dispute resolution system in the country. And this is happening at a time when e-commerce disputes and litigations are set for big rise in India. Even establishment of smart cities in India would require a techno legal smart dispute resolution mechanism.

Indian legal system is suffering from delays and backlog of cases. This is also affecting the quick disposal of commercial disputes between national and international stakeholders. Foreign investors who wish to resolve their dispute expeditiously cannot afford to wait decades for a dispute to reach finality. The current dispute resolution system of India is not only antique in nature, is cumbersome and time consuming as well. The backlog of cases is increasing day by day affecting the outcome of various cases. There was emergent need of judicial and legal reforms in India so that courts in India can meet the expectations of the 21st Century and also that could preserve the courts reputation and supports the courts critical role in maintaining trust by outside world and their confidence in the protection afforded to them by the law.

India experimented with the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods like arbitration, conciliation, etc under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. However, even the Arbitration Act has failed to bring the desired results. This is more so regarding international commercial disputes that can be better resolved using international commercial arbitration in India. UNCITRAL has promulgated the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration in June 1985 in response to the lack of uniformity in international commercial arbitration. The Arbitration Act is based substantially on this Model Law. The Model Law’s stated goals prescribe an arbitral procedure which is fair, efficient, and needs-focused to minimise the supervisory role of Courts. Other goals include:

(a) Limiting the role of national courts and to give primacy to the will of the parties in establishing the procedure for the settlement of their disputes;

(b) Securing procedural fairness by means of a limited number of provisions from which the parties could not agree to depart;

(c) Putting in place rules which advance arbitration, even if the parties have not reached agreement on all relevant procedural matters;

(d) Enforcing court decrees as awards; and

(e) That a settlement agreement reached by its conciliation proceedings would have the same status as an arbitral award.

India’s willingness to accept globalisation and FDI has tested its Arbitration law before the global audience. It is now felt that the Arbitration Act needs suitable techno legal amendments keeping in mind information and communication technology (ICT) driven business models. Indian government has already proposed amendments to the Arbitration Act and formulation of a new national litigation policy of India where Indian government would act as a responsible litigant.

One of the fundamental objectives of international commercial arbitration is the procedural neutrality as International disputes almost inevitably involve parties from different home jurisdictions. Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) suggests that India must speed up the process of adoption of online dispute resolution (ODR) for resolving e-commerce and international commercial disputes. E-commerce disputes resolution in India may be resolved using ODR in the near future. Similarly, international commercial arbitration and dispute resolution in India would also use ODR platforms and websites in the near future. ODR would also solve the problems of procedural neutrality and jurisdiction as a centralised platform can resolve disputes between national and international stakeholders.

As far as recognition of a foreign decree or judgment in India is concerned, it can be held valid and conclusive, only if it complies with all prerequites as laid down in Section 13 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) namely (i) that the judgements must be pronounced by a court of competent jurisdiction, (ii) it must decided on merits, (iii) it must not be obtained by fraud, (iv) it is not against natural justice, (v) it should in accordance with principles of international law, (vi) where it sustains a claim founded on a breach of any law in India.

P4LO strongly recommend that Indian laws must be suitably modified so that India can be a premier location for international commercial arbitration in the world. Our techno legal platforms would help Indian government for international commercial arbitration in general and digital India in particular.

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Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Services For National And International Stakeholders Launched By TLCEODRI

Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Services For National And International Stakeholders Launched By TLCEODRIDisputes are common world over and their effective and timely redressal is a big challenge for governments around the world. In the Indian context, there is a massive backlog of cases that is crippling the judicial system of India. Establishment of e-courts in India can help reducing such backlog of cases. However, it is not easy to establish e-courts as mere computerisation of court proceedings and records would not help in establishment of a full fledged e-court.

It is comparatively easier to use online dispute resolution (ODR) for resolving various sorts of disputes especially those pertaining to civil nature, e-commerce disputes, etc. ODR in India is still evolving as Indian government is still hesitant to use the same. Indian government has announced promising initiatives like digital India but the actual implementation of these initiatives is a big challenge. Mere announcement without any implementation is of no use.

As far as ODR is concerned, the techno legal centre of excellence for online dispute resolution in India (TLCEODRI) has launched a beta version of ODR platform that can be used for dispute resolution by national and international stakeholders alike. This is possible as the test platform is guided by the digital India principles and mere access of Internet would be sufficient to resolve the disputes from across the world.

The parties intended to be covered by the present and future techno legal initiatives of Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) and TLCEODRI include national and international stakeholders like Central/State Governments, Foreign Governments, Indian companies, multi national companies (MNCs), Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), individuals, e-commerce websites, etc. We hope that all stakeholders would find this beta version initiative worth trying and making the same part of their business ventures and public dealings. To test the same, please create a ticket as per the category in which you fall.

Further, a special service of conducting Online Arbitration or Cyber Arbitration is also there where parties to the dispute can submit their disputes to the platforms of P4LO or TLCEODRI. The parties to the dispute must have incorporated the sample clause for getting their disputes resolved through P4LO or TLCEODRI while entering into an agreement/contract. Interested stakeholders may also contact us for drafting of such agreements/contracts where such ODR clause would be part of the same. This way parties need not to go to the courts and they can settle their disputes amicably, expeditiously and in an economical manner.

Once the Arbitrator/Arbitration Tribunal is appointed, the appointed Arbitrator/Arbitration Tribunal of P4LO or TLCEODRI would then proceed to deal with the dispute and pass a binding Arbitration award by which the parties to the dispute would be legally bound. The rules, procedures, list of panelists, etc would be uploaded on various ODR platforms of P4LO and TLCEODRI very soon.

For those who have already tried the conciliation efforts at this beta version platform and have failed to get a result, there is also an option to send a legal notice through the platform. This, obviously, is totally different from the Online Arbitration or Cyber Arbitration option before the P4LO or TLCEODRI as the latter proceedings would be governed by a separate procedure and notice of initiation of arbitration proceedings would be send to the parties to the arbitration instead of a legal notice. The purpose of a legal notice is to try to settle the dispute through the legal notice itself and if that fails, the matter can be taken up before the regular courts/tribunals. Legal notices are also effective where there is no ODR clause that attaches the parties to the disputes to the services of P4LO or TLCEODRI. In such a case there is no other option left but to send a legal notice as a last attempt to resolve the dispute.

P4LO and TLCEODRI would soon launch many more techno legal dispute resolution and e-courts related projects that would help national and international stakeholders alike. They would be full fledged and tested platforms that could be readily relied upon by various stakeholders. We would share information about the final initiatives very soon.

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E-Commerce Dispute Resolution In India

E-Commerce Dispute Resolution In IndiaE-commerce is growing at a fast speed in India as India is seen as a lucrative and profitable market for e-commerce business. However, e-commerce laws in India are still not clear to most of the e-commerce entrepreneurs. As a result most of the e-commerce websites are not following the laws of India and are inadvertently violating the laws of India. Regulatory authorities of India have started questioning the operations of e-commerce websites of India and many of them are facing potential legal actions.

The tussle is not merely between the regulatory authorities and e-commerce website owners but it also extends to disputes between e-commerce websites and their consumers. Most of the consumers are not aware about their digital rights while dealing with such e-commerce companies and websites. At the same time there is lack of forums and dispute resolutions platforms for digital consumers in India where they can agitate their claims. In short, e-commerce dispute resolution in India is still to be managed by Indian Government.

We at Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) believe that online dispute resolution (ODR) can be effectively used in India to manage many digital and non digital disputes, including for e-commerce purposes. To make ODR a success in India, Techno Legal Centre of Excellence for Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) in India (TLCEODRI) has been providing its techno legal ODR services to national and international stakeholders.

TLCEODRI has realised that ODR in India has failed to materialised due to lack of techno legal expertise on the one hand and absence of public awareness on the other. This is the reason why we have started an online dispute resolution (ODR) platform in India for national and international stakeholders where techno legal disputes can be resolved in an online environment.

This platform has twin objectives to meet. The first is to develop techno legal skills and trainings for ODR in India and abroad. This objective is fulfilled through the initiative titled ODR Trainings and Skills Development in India by TLCEODRI. The second objective is to spread public awareness about ODR in India and abroad. This objective is fulfilled by spreading information and providing guidance about ODR through our social media platforms. Please see our Twitter accounts named ODR India and TLCEODRI and the first ODR Social Media and Social Networking Platform of TLCEODRI for updates and information about ODR. Please see the ODR Discussion Forum of TLCEODRI for more details about this project.

We are also in the process of introducing new techno legal features so that ODR platform of TLCEODRI can provide the most comprehensive and holistic techno legal ODR services at a single website. Meanwhile national and international stakeholders like e-commerce websites, government departments, international agencies, national and international companies, multi national companies (MNCs), individuals, etc can register with us to avail our services by sending an e-mail at our contact point.

We would share more information about enrollment by e-commerce companies for dispute resolution services of TLCEODRI at our ODR Discussion Forum very shortly.

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Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) In India By TLCEODRI

Praveen Dalal-Managing Partner Of Perry4Law And CEO Of PTLBDispute resolution is a tricky issue even for a big Nation like India as Indian Courts are already overburdened with court cases and litigations. Indian Government tried its level best to reduce this backlog and provide some relief to Indian Judiciary but till now little success has been achieved in this regard. Indian Government also tried to use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for disputes resolution and out of courts settlements. However, despite the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 the situation has not improved. Rather the situation has worsened and now Arbitration related matters are also required to be adjudicated upon by Courts in India.

Indian Government realised the gravity of this situation and decided to attack upon this backlog from two fronts. Firstly, Indian Government launched Digital India Project that aims at using information and communication technology (ICT) for Judicial purposes. Although not expressly stated yet this may include use of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) and E-Courts in India.

Secondly, Indian Government also decided to amend the Arbitration Act 1996 during the winter session of the Parliament in 2014. However, the Amendments failed to take the Parliament’s clearance during the winter session and the BJP Government decided not to take the “Ordinance Route” for the same. It was decided to wait for the next session of the Parliament to pass the Amendment Bill.

Techno Legal Centre of Excellence for Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) in India (TLCEODRI) has been managing techno legal issues of ODR since 2012. However, ODR related issues were managed by us in one form  or other since 2005. We have now rejuvenated our efforts in this regard and launched a full fledged ODR platform to cater the needs and requirements of national and international stakeholders.

TLCEODRI would use maximum possible technologies, tools, software and applications while providing its techno legal ODR services. This includes use of methods like simple e-mails to automated case management systems. Wherever required, TLCEODRI would also issue “Arbitration Awards” as well that would be binding upon parties to the dispute by virtue of the Standard Arbitration Agreements of TLCEODRI.

TLCEODRI has taken great pain in providing the most “Comprehensive and Holistic” ODR Platform of India and worldwide. Our ODR Platform includes the ODR Discussion Forum, ODR Social Media Platform, ODR Training Platform, etc. Please see “Our Services” segment for the types of services that you may wish to avail from TLCEODRI. The Discussion Forum is always available for getting information about the ODR services of TLCEODRI.

We hope this ODR platform of TLCEODRI would be handy tool in the hands of both national and international stakeholders to get their disputes resolved through an Economical, Expeditious, Transparent and Effective Platform.

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