On May 27, 2020, the International Council for Online Dispute Resolution (ICODR) released guideline for mediators to follow when conducting online video mediations. A copy of the guidelines can be found on ICODR’s website (www.icodr.org) or in this ICODR published PDF guidelines document.
While online dispute resolution (ODR) may be relatively new to many of us, the issue of technology and dispute resolution has been the subject of study by academics and other professionals for over 20 years. In 1998, the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution (NCTDR) was formed to provide a structure for the practice and study of ODR. The ICODR was formed at the 2017 ODR Forum meeting in Paris, France by the Administration and Fellows of NCTDR. ICODR works in a complementary fashion to NCTDR.
ICODR Board Members and founding members have been among the leading thinkers in developing ODR in the United States and abroad. They represent academics and mediators from around the world. The ICODR functions to promulgate standards and best practices for online dispute resolution and offers training and continuing education for online dispute resolution practitioners. I’m proud to say that I have been a member of ICODR since November 2019.
The ICODR Guidelines reflect the following recommended best practices for ODR professionals:
Mediators should assure that the parties are willing and able to use the ODR technology in advance of any scheduled mediation and that reminders with log in information are provided a minimum of two days prior to the scheduled start time.
The Guidelines mandate that the mediator be thoroughly familiar with the ODR platform, and that the parties be allowed to access and try out the platform in advance of the mediation.
Confidentiality is the hallmark of mediation. To assure confidentiality, the guidelines prohibit the recording of audio or video during any part of the mediation. Mediators should provide clear ground rules from the parties and secure their written commitment. Documents or screen shots that are shared during a mediation should be shared within the mediation platform and should not be sent via e-mail, text, or other non-secure means.
Fair / Impartial / Neutral
Mediators should assure at all times during the mediation that all participants have connectivity. If a party loses connectivity, the mediator should suspend the session until all parties have rejoined. Mediators should also always have a backup option such as dialing in by phone.
Mediators need to assure that they are using a secure and encrypted videoconferencing platform. Any software or features that require or provide location information should be de-activated.
I am please to say that we adhere to the ICODR Guidelines at KMS. As the mediation provider, we take seriously your accessibility and security during ODR sessions.