Human-centred design, big data, and internet speeds were among the key topics explored at the ODR: State of the Art Symposium hosted by Victoria University’s Sir Zelman Cowen Centre in Melbourne in November 2018.

The Symposium provided a forum for leading international experts in online dispute resolution to share their unique insights with Australian policy makers, judicial officers, court and tribunal administrators and complaint handling agencies. It also allowed local delegates to connect and support the development of a range of ODR approaches in Australia.

The Symposium began with a high-powered panel focused on the lessons Australia can learn from the various international experiences with speakers from Canada, USA, UK, China, New Zealand and Australia. The speakers highlighted the need to use technology to solve the access to justice problem facing Australia and other countries around the world with a large focus on reinventing justice processes to make them relevant for modern day users.

View the full session on YouTube.

International speakers included the Chair of the Civil Resolution Tribunal, British Columbia, Shannon Salter; Former Head of ODR at eBay and PayPal, Colin Rule; former Solicitor-General of New Zealand Michael Heron QC; and a member of UK Civil Justice Council Advisory Group on ODR, Professor Sue Prince.

Alongside lessons from international visitors, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal shared a sneak peek at their case study on their journey towards implementation of ODR in practice. Attendees also had the opportunity to interact with the case study and help develop potential solutions alongside staff from VCAT.

An ODR Playground provided an opportunity for attendees to see ODR technological solutions in action with displays from Immediation, Asset Divider, MODRON, Portable, Smartsettle and Tyler Technologies.

Other sessions focused on the lessons Australians can learn from failures, understanding user-centred design principles to ensure reliability, useability and acceptability, and the change required to for the legal sector to deal with this major disruption.

The Symposium was formally opened by VCAT President, Justice Michelle Quigley QC, before Shannon Salter, Chair of the Civil Resolution Tribunal delivered the public lecture on Compulsory ODR: the Canadian experience.

Demonstrating the importance of convening this event, more than 25 additional people expressed interest in attending the sold-out event, which was attended by 150 delegates. More than half of attendees represented government departments, public sector agencies and courts and tribunals key to the decision making required to advance ODR in Australia.

The ODR: state of the art symposium was supported by the Victorian Government’s Department of Justice and Community Safety, the Transport Accident Commission, Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner, Fair Work Commission, Victoria’s Energy and Water Ombudsman, and The Ian Potter Foundation.