Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) is a secure, much more affordable and extremely manageable alternative to in-person litigation. Equipped with digitized functionality accounting for each step in the legal process, ODR can be applied to almost any case type, including civil, family law, traffic and parking, probate, bankruptcy and yes – even criminal and misdemeanor cases.
Child Support Compliance
From traffic and parking citations to minor infractions and misdemeanors – these cases are a dime a dozen, yet they all deserve their day in court. The challenge is processing and scheduling these numerous traffic cases, which come complete with long waits for constituents and a lot of additional time for court staff and law enforcement – often turning into overtime.
The opportunity to expedite such a high volume of hearings online eliminates all these challenges while also better supporting the community’s success. Judges can accomplish more with less on their docket, law enforcement can stay out of court and on patrol thanks to a one-click review of statements from their mobile devices, and defendants have anywhere access to justice without missing work or stressing over “going to court” – significantly reducing defaults and bench warrants.
Open Your Case Online
On their own time, the defendant can request an online trial from your court’s ODR platform. After your online trial request has been processed, the defendant will receive a text or email notification with a link to their case dashboard. The dashboard will showcase a ticket reference number, the presiding officer, offense, location and speed. At the bottom, users have the option to add more information to what’s currently displayed, or upload evidence to support their case.
From their dashboard, users can upload evidence, such as photos or video, from desktop files or with drag-and-drop functionality. Defendants can also add more information, like a justification for their violation or a rebuttal.
One-Click Court Orders
From their own dashboard, the Judge will be notified that (s)he is assigned your case. They see the same details as you, and all your uploaded evidence. From the same interface, the Judge can leverage the award builder to make a judgement. There is a text box for reasoning, and boxes to fill in the fine and surcharge amounts and the timeframe in which they must be paid.
From there, the Judge can electronically sign the official court order and, with the click of a button, submit the judgement to all parties – including the defendant, law enforcement and any necessary court clerks.
Breach of lease agreements, an unmaintained property and chronic late payments commonly put strain on landlord-tenant relationships. Not only can the communication between the two parties be hostile, but fluctuating, on-the-go schedules make settling on a sit-down time nearly impossible.
To hurdle these obstacles while also avoiding costly court dates and attorney fees, ODR establishes a neutral environment between the claimant and respondent, allowing the two parties to asynchronously resolve their dispute when its convenient for their schedules.
Meet Molly – Your AI Mediator
Molly is an artificial intelligence bot who helps facilitate communication between disputing parties. If the landlord and tenant opt-out of having a human mediator or arbitrator on the case, Molly can step in and serve as a third-party intermediate helping you reach a conclusion. In his case description, for example, the landlord can submit an amount he’s willing to settle for. Molly will also collect the tenant’s bid and, keeping each bid confidential from the other party, will leverage individual chat boxes to coach the two toward a more agreeable price point. When they’re both in the same ballpark, Molly will recommend they disclose their bids to one another. The bids will stay blind until both parties agree to disclose. If the parties agree to the settlement, Molly will generate the settlement with the pre-filled monetary claims.
Digital Settlement Builder
Once the parties have agreed to settle, an auditable settlement builder will be drafted. Each party can add, agree to or reject individual clauses. Once the settlement is agreed to, the claimants and respondents can request the other party electronically sign the agreement. As a security measure, the eSignatures are captured using each individual’s respective account password. They can either enter the password and check the box agreeing to the legally binding claims, or choose to “make more changes” before signing.
Easy Case Escalation
If negotiations don’t seem to be going anywhere, case participants can elect to escalate their case to mediation or arbitration. From the interface, the claimant/respondent can explain the escalation, choose mediation or arbitration, invite preferred meditators/arbitrators to their case, or choose to let the system auto-allocate a list of officials to choose from. From there, the mediator/arbitrator leverages the system to distribute ground rules to the parties, allocate and collect individual questionnaires, view photos or video submitted by the parties, and communicate directly with each participant.
Dissolving a marriage is emotionally taxing and an incredibly stressful time for case participants, especially if children are involved. If the relationship has turned hostile, being together in the same room, making real-time decisions on-the-clock, can trigger divorcees to shut down, leave the room or lash out – blinded by emotion, it’s not easy to be understanding the other’s perspective or the deal on the table.
Because the ODR platform is handled at each participant’s own convenience, (s)he has time to read the proposal and reflect on it for a while before responding rationally. Not only does this keep the focus on the case, it encourages the parties to keeping working toward resolution without knots of anxiety.
One-Click Case Registration
With an email address and an access code, users seeking a divorce can initiate their case from the court’s online dispute resolution platform with just one click. From there, the user is brought to a general case dashboard where he/she can invite parties, such as their attorneys, a mediator or arbitrator, the respondent and his/her attorney.
From their individual dashboards, the claimant, respondent and mediator can manage their areas of the case. The agenda shows tasks due, such as documentation, new or upcoming appointments, new chats and any settlements made. To the right, users can choose to see the case’s audited history, party details or their own private notes. In the upper right-hand corner is a notification bell, which sends texts or emails to respective users reminding them of upcoming payments and fees, appointments, to-do’s, etc. From the mediator’s perspective, the notifications alert him when payments are made, tasks are completed, deadlines are approaching/missed, etc.
Create New Tasks, Appointments, Cases, Settlements
From their dashboard, mediators and arbitrators can swiftly alter between cases and manage respective tasks. The “create new” button provides a drop-down menu with options to assign new tasks, create new appointments, build settlements or establish a new, incoming case. This is also where the neutral official can build and distribute questionnaires and assign ground rules to the parties. The parties then complete their tasks from their own dashboards, and agree to the ground rules. With respect to utmost security, electronic signatures are established by the user keying his/her respective account password.
Chat groups are also available for time-sensitive communications. The mediator/arbitrator can send messages to all or only select parties. Similar to all of today’s instant messaging platforms, the chat room allows users to call or video conference with individuals or groups.
Child Support Compliance
The courthouse on a Friday morning is packed with hundreds of people anxiously awaiting their show-cause hearing. After taking time off work, figuring out transportation and waiting around in a busy courthouse, tensions are high.
Stress, however, is rampant throughout. Court staff are inundated with mile-long processing lines, check-in confusion and answering everyone’s questions. All this while also sending out bench warrants for last week’s missed appearances and reminders for next week. With overwhelmed dockets, the Judges are also preparing for a long day ahead.
Although a common scene, this is not the message courts want to convey to their communities: Judges do not want to reactively throw parents in jail or have them jump through hoops to get to court – they only want to help people get a handle on their legal matters and ensure children’s needs are being met.
Equipped with an online dispute resolution platform, the Courts, case workers and parents can overcome all these barriers to access and focus on what matters most – the children.
Streamlined Court Communication with Case Workers and Parents
With automated email and/or text notifications, it’s easy to stay in touch with parents, regardless of their work schedules, living arrangements, or other obligations. In addition to notifications about payment reminders, schedule changes, hearings, etc., the platform’s direct message option also facilitates instantaneous communication between caseworkers, parents and the Court.
Order in the Court (On Hearing Day)
With a digital, streamlined check-in process, it’s easy for court staff to stay on top of their workload. This saved time translates into better constituent service and time spent on higher-level initiatives. The same ODR platform pulls from the court’s check-in process to update caseworkers’ digital queues in real-time, allowing them to better manage their meetings and time.
Fewer Trials Mean Fewer Warrants
As mentioned above, the Courts want to help people – not throw them in jail. Increased accessibility for parents means they can easily connect with the court to resolve payment concerns before being summoned to court. With an opportunity for resolution at their fingertips, both show-cause hearings and bench warrants significantly drop.
Whether your client was caught with an open container or minor possession of alcohol, trespassing or driving on a suspended license, online dispute resolution sees misdemeanor cases through from initial charges to the final verdict, ensuring the offender stays on course with their case and understands their penalties. With the proper follow-up notifications and accessible means to justify their wrongdoings, citizens are more likely to pay their court fees on time and clear up these mild legal matters instead of defaulting or, worse, becoming a repeat offender.
For those who may have caused a little too much riffraff while on vacation or visiting an out-of-town friend, online dispute resolution is a solution that’s always in proximity. Your clients won’t have to jeopardize their jobs and strain finances by continuously heading out of town to clear up their legal matters in a faraway jurisdiction – the ODR portal is available to clients in between work, caring for children and other responsibilities to keep clients motivated to resolve their cases.
Choose How and When You Communicate
Thanks to chatrooms, text, audio and video conferencing options, clients can work remotely, either in real-time or on their own time, with legal counsel and the prosecutor to work out a deal without having to tell, miss or jeopardize their job. If the client is working asynchronously on paperwork or uploading documents, (s)he can also leave a note or message for the recipient to read when they circle back to the case.
Task Notifications and Shared Calendars
Task notifications and shared calendars ensure the defendant stays on course with deadlines and paying their fees. This takes the pressure off legal counsel to continuously remind clients of due dates – lightening the load of prosecutors and public defenders who are then able to focus on higher-priority initiatives and faster case turnaround.
On-Demand Payment Processing
With payment processing always at their fingertips, clients are more likely to pay their fees and fines and are empowered to do so on time. This also means legal counsel and courts can better enforce any fees due upon point of agreement.