Aashit Shah


In the context of the Internet, where parties located in different corners of the world can contract with each other at the click of a mouse, litigation of online disputes is often inconvenient, impractical, time-consuming and prohibitive. Providing an alternative approach to resolve online disputes might assist in redressing grievances and gaining consumer confidence in e-commerce. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is an appurtenant candidate for such an approach. The Virtual Magistrate Project, launched in 1996, initiated the idea of using ADR to resolve Internet-related disputes. The joint statement promoting the use of ADR in cyberspace, made by the European Union and the United States at a summit in Washington D.C. on December 18, 2000, set the ball rolling. Since then, various entities, including governments, consumer groups, lawyers, academia, and international organizations have been catapulted into arriving at an effective means to implement ADR globally on the Internet. This article summarily discusses some of the online ADR providers and the type of online disputes that are amenable to online ADR. Thereafter, this paper analyzes the effectiveness of using ADR in the online context and weighs its pros and cons. This paper also addresses some of the models proposed for an online ADR process and suggests some of the issues online businesses and online ADR providers should keep in mind to boost consumer confidence and make online ADR more effective.