Summary: 1. Introduction – 2. Defining Online Mediation. – 3. Technologies Used in Online Mediation. – 4. Areas of Application. – 5. Known Benefits. – 6. (Un)obvious Drawbacks. – 7. Solutions and Potential for Improvement. – 8. Concluding Remarks.
This paper focuses on the phenomenon of Online Mediation, which is gaining in popularity in recent years. Being part of the Online Dispute Resolution family, this particular method is the one applied most often. The very idea of disputes being heard and resolved in the global network seems exciting and quite appealing to some, while for others it presents a source of major concern. New technologies influence the ways parties and the neutral interact, share ideas and reach a settlement. Moreover, they have a clear impact on how people evaluate the other party, their mediator and the whole procedure they are involved into. This makes trust a significant issue for online mediation, one that is not so easy to establish while relying on the old techniques. Another important thing is the absence of positive regulation for the sector. In spite of recent instruments adopted by the EU, online mediation is still a field largely unknown to lawyers, consumers, business players and national regulators.
The present article aims at clarifying the notion of ‘online mediation’ (which, surprisingly, has not been properly done yet), showing some of the most obvious benefits and drawbacks of this dispute resolution method (a deeper, more profound look on them will only be possible over time, when online mediation proves itself in practice and more statistical data are available) and providing valuable remarks on the solutions for the problems determined.