Smart Dispute Resolution in the digital age: the potential of smart contracts and Online Dispute Resolution for dispute prevention and resolution in Consumer Law cases
State courts are the traditional and established place to resolve legal disputes. However, litigations are regularly criticized for being lengthy, costly and conducted in an analogue way (eg, by using outdated non-digital technology for communication). Consumers with small claims in particular often regularly refrain from seeking redress as the hurdles state court proceedings entail are disproportionate to the potential outcome. At the same time, the phenomenon of legal tech, which comes primarily from the private legal services sector, shows that the use of digital infrastructure might be a game changer to make legal processes such as contracting, but also dispute resolution, more effective, user-friendly and accessible. Here, smart contracts and online dispute resolution processes in particular play an essential role. If smart contract and online dispute resolution (ODR) together form a technically connected entity via a smart contract with an embedded ODR forum clause, the result is, in theory, no less than the digital symbiosis of contract and dispute resolution. This is what we call smart (contract) dispute resolution in a strict sense. However, there is also smart dispute resolution inherent in smart contracts due to their feature of being self-executing. Hence, the smart contract layer itself already entails an (online) dispute resolution respectively avoidance without the express use of an ODR-provision. This is what we call smart (contract) dispute resolution in a broad sense. In this article we will analyze different forms of smart dispute resolution, explain how they work and explore their potential. Could smart dispute resolution be the future of conflict resolution of the 21st century? To answer this question, some potential applications, but also the natural limitations of smart dispute resolution will be discussed
Janssen, A.U and Vennmanns, Tom J. Vennmanns J.
"Smart Dispute Resolution in the digital age: the potential of smart contracts and Online Dispute Resolution for dispute prevention and resolution in Consumer Law cases,"
International Journal on Consumer Law and Practice: Vol. 9, Article 7.
Available at: https://repository.nls.ac.in/ijclp/vol9/iss1/7