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The eDisputeŠ project leverages the Internet to transcend distance, borders and time.

Objectives of the project and the expected outcome

The eDispute project will establish a rapid and effective arbitration procedure of particular benefit to SMEs engaged in international trade. Information technology can give them rapid access to appropriately qualified, but remote, arbitrators and it can ensure that the relevant information is circulated quickly and accurately to all parties in a dispute. The project will analyse and define the Chamber of Commerce and Arbitration/Mediation centres requirements, the necessary infrastructure and the regulatory framework for establishing and co-ordinating an internationally distributed arbitration tribunal using networked computers as their primary means of communication.

Arbitration is a well-established alternative to contentious courtroom litigation for the resolution of commercial disputes. In general, it is quicker, simpler, and incurs lower costs without disadvantaging the parties. The purpose of this project is to allow the principles of international law to be applied using the Internet, as a universal and seamless tool, to deliver efficient and practical arbitration procedures for an electronically linked trading community.

Key elements of the success for the eDisputeŠ project will be:

  • Claimants and Respondents will have access to an online and user-friendly system which, in a short period of time, resolves disputes, with impartiality and at a fair cost.
  • The Appointing Authority (Neutral) and Arbitrators will be able to work at their normal place when judging and settling disputes, resolving matters in their area of expertise.
  • This mechanism will not foreclose recourse to current litigation and arbitration procedures but all parties should perceive it to be an alternative offering faster, cheaper and more effective resolution of a dispute.
  • The eDisputeŠ system platform will allow a user, neutral or referring entity to manage the full life cycle of a dispute through resolution.
  • The eDisputeŠ system platform will provide online forum for business as an alternative to expensive litigation. Designed uphold the principles of fairness and justice, and the service provides a fixed product, for a fixed price within a fixed time. Our solution combines automated system and a team of reputable resolution professionals.

In particular, the project will deliver the following elements to establish the eDisputeŠ system:

The legal rules

eDispute project will define the legal framework and appropriate procedures to govern the activities of an electronic arbitration tribunal and all parties to a dispute. The eDisputeŠ Rules will include:

  • A data model of the legal instrument necessary for the establishment of an Appointing Authority and operators for an E-Arbitration Tribunal service;
  • Documentation specifying formally the information to be given, the procedures and the time scales to be observed by each parties to a dispute;
  • Documentation giving appropriate guidance to Arbitrators appointed to act in the resolution of a dispute;
  • Model contractual clauses for commercial agreements that select the dispute resolution mechanism; and
  • Documentation giving appropriate guidance for potential Claimants and Defendants in selecting and using eDisputeŠ services.

The commercial and procedural Law of all the EU Member States supports private arbitration and the resolution of disputes in Tribunals or Arbitral Courts. Within Europe, there are several conventions and treaties that regulate cross-border arbitration and other bodies provide a framework for world trade.

These legal and statutory frameworks are well established and trusted, but pre-date the vision of international business to business eCommerce. The eDisputeŠ tribunal rules provide an alternative to these established frameworks and need to be judged by the same principles of independence, transparency of the procedure, open presentation of argument, self-representative, low cost and speed. They must also ensure that an eDisputeŠ tribunal award is legally valid and binding within the widest possible jurisdiction. And on the other hand the eDisputeŠ system will be useful in e-health environment. That means it will be accessible to everyone at an affordable price, in particular in the fields of health information and medical care. They are a number of medical legal issue which would need to be identified within the medical eDisputeŠ project.

The Technical Infrastructure

eDisputeŠ project will define the technical infrastructure or framework for operating an electronic arbitration tribunal service using Multi-Agent communication protocols for maintaining the relationship, security and transparency between all of the parties to the process (Appointing Authority, Claimants, Respondents, and Arbitrators). This will cover all aspects of the arbitral process making it unnecessary for parties to attend a hearing at a particular geographical location. This work will define the distinct agents, their roles and their responsibilities during resolution of a dispute.

Although eCommerce frameworks exist for some Business-to-Business activities there is, as yet, no framework for arbitration fora and the validity of any development depends on comparison with arbitral processes executed in the absence of computer mediation. eDisputeŠ project will pilot and validate the framework using Chamber of Commerce or medical dispute centres, or Arbitration centres models to demonstrate that the proposed Multi-Agent architecture provides the same, or better, security and distribution of information as existing Member State and International arbitral procedures. At the same time these models will be used to demonstrate the potential to deliver reduced costs and increased speed of resolution.

The seven steps methodology combines online collaboration tools, video, audio, live-chat, e-forum, text and transcript capabilities with full case management, fact assessment, analysis, and weighted issue/interesting variables.

The seven steps process allows parties to ''Get to Yes'' swiftly, slowly and affordably.

The eDisputeŠ arbitration rules which are based upon the following procedural principles are the following:

    1-Starting the proceeding (Claimant, Respondent): exchange of arbitration requests and answer.

    2-Constitution of the arbitral tribunal (choice of the chairman, settlement of the tribunal, arbitral proceeding).

    3-Preliminary Hearing (first hearing of the arbitral tribunal).

    4-Exchange of pleadings.

    5-Submission of evidence.

    6-Hearing (decision step, expert witness proceeding).

    7-Award.

eDisputeŠ project expected outcome:

The current eDisputeŠ system components are the following: (i) eForum, (ii) chatroom, (iii) documents management, (iv) online Automated Negotiations and Multi criteria Decision- Making models, (v) agent(s) Claimant(s), Agent(s) Respondent(s) for multi-party negotiations concerning the Chairman (Neutral) nomination and appointment dates, (vi) Personal Assistant Agents, (vi) and QoS Agents.

The expected outcome, additionally to the actual eDisputeŠ system components is the following: (i) Implementation of the EU odrXML specifications defined by EU JRC-Italy. That will permit the Interoperability between ODR systems and services; (ii) Implementation of third-party software concerning video-conferencing, digital signature and online payment securities; (iii) eDisputeŠ applications pilots for end-users defined by CEA/SINTRA, UnionCamere and EKPIZO.

Figure 1: eDisputeŠ Application System

eDisputeŠ system platform is a tool that can be implemented at anytime in claim or dispute, which benefits everyone by eliminating missed telephone calls, keeping the negotiations moving, saving litigation costs, and most importantly getting to a number companies benefit by faster, efficient claims and dispute resolution. Claimants get their proceeds quicker.

 
   
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