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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Public Meeting on Online Dispute Resolution

January 20, 2012


A public meeting of the Study Group on Online Dispute Resolution was held under the auspices of the Advisory Committee on Private International Law on January 20, 2012, at the State Department, Office of Private International Law, South Building, 23rd and C Streets, N.W., Washington, DC.

The meeting was convened to discuss the continuing work in UNCITRAL on the development of online dispute resolution (ODR) legal instruments for resolving both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) cross-border e-commerce disputes, in anticipation of a fourth meeting of the UNCITRAL working group on online dispute resolution scheduled to take place in New York, May 21-25. The working group was established by the Commission in July 2010 pursuant to a U.S. proposal. The UNCITRAL Working Group is preparing generic ODR procedural rules applicable to low-value, high-volume cross-border e-commerce transactions as well as annexes on guidelines and minimum requirements for ODR providers and arbitrators, substantive legal principles for resolving disputes, and a cross-border enforcement mechanism.

The Study Group reviewed the current draft of the proposed UNCITRAL generic ODR procedural rules and the report of the last UNCITRAL Working Group session in November 2011. The discussion centered on scope of the claims to be covered, the need for buyers to be provided fair and adequate notice of any binding arbitration agreement whether pre- or post-dispute, standards for resolving disputes including use of equitable principles, the need for arbitral decisions to be final and binding to ensure effective enforcement, and protections against fraud and misuse.

No matter was resolved. No report was approved. We anticipate that another meeting will be scheduled in advance of the May UNCITRAL working group session.


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