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15 Ohio St. J. on Disp. Resol. 735 (1999-2000)
Online Mediation: Has Its Time Come

handle is hein.journals/ohjdpr15 and id is 755 raw text is: Online Mediation: Has Its Time Come?

BRUCE LEONARD BEAL*
I. SUMMARY
*  As commerce and other transactions and communications move onto the
Internet, intuitively, methods to resolve disputes arising from this trend
also must move onto the Internet.
*  Mediation, being less formal than other methods of dispute resolution,
especially litigation and arbitration, better lends itself to the Internet.
*  Internet commerce sets up the probability that its merchants, suppliers,
and customers will not exist in the same legal jurisdictions. The
confusing application of laws and wide geographical dispersion of these
parties will necessitate a faster and cheaper dispute resolution
methodology.
•  Internet parties will find a way to obviate the legal risk of submitting
their disputes to foreign laws and proceedings as well as the costs of
traveling to and supporting these proceedings.
*  Internet parties (and this is a purely personal observation based on years
of experience with the Internet, both personal and business) appear not to
resort to litigation as easily as traditional parties, maybe because of the
above considerations, but also because they tend to be more sophisticated
in knowing that disputes must be dealt with quickly and cheaply.
  Internet parties are not used to paying for services, including professional
services and advice! Internet mediators need to be prepared for a
substantial number of queries asking essentially for free legal advice
rather than for any true desire to mediate formally.
*  Mediators should keep their day jobs. Online mediation will not
manifest fully until videoconferencing becomes ubiquitous, so that the
following will apply: (1) video cameras and microphones are built into
computers; (2) videoconferencing software is bundled in computers; and
(3) modems are fast enough to accommodate videoconferencing.
Networks and online appliances should be included within the above
term computers. Businesspersons have not accepted mediation
negotiations by e-mail, Internet chat rooms, and the like. When
videoconferencing becomes about as easy as using a telephone, then
online mediation will come into its own.
* Originator  and  owner  of  Internet  Neutral  Mediation  Services
<http://www.internetneutral.com>; attorney; mediator; editor of new mediation websites
for the Open Directory project; panel expert for Allexperts.com  in the
arbitration/mediation section.

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