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Abstract

This article examines the growing need for online dispute resolution (ODR). It traces the birth of the internet, expansion of e-commerce, and the resulting evolution of ODR systems in the past two decades. To facilitate development of a global ODR system, it looks at the structure and operation of existing and proposed ODR systems such as eBay, Concilianet, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the proposed Organization of American States (OAS) – ODR initiative, and the E-Commerce Redress Interchange (ECRI) and NGO proposals for Fast Track Substantive Principles and Common ODR Data Standards. The anatomy of a global ODR system and the work of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) in development of such a global system are also addressed. It calls for creation of a fast track low-value/high-volume ODR system which balances the concerns of stakeholders, including public agencies (as policy makers, legislators and regulators), consumers, online businesses, payment channels, and ODR providers in a global ODR system. The article concludes with a restatement of the challenge to create a global ODR system which gives stakeholders the option to choose a fast track, simplified, inexpensive process for low value/high volume claims or a slower, sophisticated, costly but more detailed process for high-value/low-volume claims.

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