Electronic commerce is important, and perhaps, inevitable. Thus to consider the legal implications of the growth and development of electronic commerce is essential. However, the lack of suitable dispute resolution mechanisms in cyberspace will constitute a serious obstacle to the further development of electronic commerce. Bearing this in mind, this paper argues that when Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) moves to cyberspace, particularly arbitration and mediation as the main types of ADR, the form of online alternative dispute resolution (OADR) can maximise the growth of e-commerce.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and the internet are two very topical issues. Online alternative dispute resolution (OADR), or ADR online, refers to the use of internet technology, wholly or partially, as a medium by which to conduct the proceedings of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), in order to resolve commercial disputes which arise from the use of the internet. Those proceedings are operated by neutral private bodies under published rules of procedure.
Having said that, it is important to address mandatory OADR. This means that the parties are bound to adhere to the OADR process. Indeed, it is imperative to display what risks internet users should be willing to take with mandatory OADR schemes. This paper concludes that the issue of consent should be at the forefront of any contemplated OADR solutions. Clearly, it is unacceptable to impose mandatory OADR on internet users without their knowledge and consent Instead, a complainant who wishes to avoid the mandatory nature of OADR proceeding must be able to bring the action in any court that has a jurisdiction over the dispute. Bearing this in mind, there is a strong reason to believe that mandatory OADR schemes would not be enforceable in courts, and that the entire scheme of mandatory OADR might be unworkable.