Why Paying Your Judge May Be A Good Thing — Part 2: Recent Developments

Last time, we discussed the ancient and medieval history of adjudication, from trial-by-fire, to cabinet justice, to flipping coins. Now, we examine the more recent happenings in the dispute resolution field!

The 20th century

In the 20th century, a combination of exploding populations in the world (both developing and developed) and outdated governance and adjudication methods necessitated the growth of the arbitration and ADR industry, which now encompasses a $188 billion market worldwide.

Trade deals whose value numbers in the hundreds of millions often have robust arbitration clauses in their contracts. This means that any dispute between the parties will be settled by an agreed-upon third party, rather than defaulting to national courts.

However, parties are often not diligent when signing arbitration agreements and, as a consequence, they do not always get what they want when a dispute arises. Prevention, awareness, and increased transparency are suggested as solutions to this problem, rather than focusing on ex ante cure mechanisms (such as the presumption of validity under the New York Convention).

Once upon a time, some people sat down and agreed that international adjudication doesn’t have to cause wars.

This means that even relatively adaptive and agile arbitration firms now stand to lose market share to even more streamlined, inexpensive, and transparent solutions. The demand is certainly there: no company worth its salt has the time or money to waste in courts or validating “gotcha” clauses in fine print.

A new fighter has entered the ring

As the internet continues its penetration into our personal and professional lives worldwide, it has become apparent that most people do not want to hop down to the local courthouse to solve their disputes — their time is too valuable. Instead, they’d like to have the power and objectivity of the law at their fingertips. Enter online dispute resolution (ODR).

Online dispute resolution usually drums up images of fouled-up deliveries on eBay being rectified, getting our flights compensated, or recovering important information. However, a new style of dispute resolution is growing popular among start-ups — specifically non-adjudicative alternative means of dispute resolution (NAADR).

Too long, didn’t read

Dispute resolution is a massive market — primarily through savings that are generated by there not being a dispute in the first place.

International Arbitration began taking hold in society — it was no longer an under-the table deal, but a valid way of handling disputes.

BigLaw firms often offer ADR services, but are being crowded out by a new entrant: online dispute resolution.

Stay tuned for part 3: the digital revolution!