Ask An Expert: Mark Appel

Mark Appel, an independent international Arbitrator, Mediator, Consultant and Trainer, discusses online dispute resolution (ODR), cybersecurity and the impact of technology on the dispute resolution process.

What is your role, when did you first become interested in ODR?

My current role is Mediator/Arbitrator with ArbDB Chambers, London, but for 30 + years I was an Executive at the American Arbitration Association and its International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), leaving ICDR in 2015 as Senior VP, EMEA. One of my roles there was to serve as a process consultant to corporations, public bodies and ADR provider organisations. I became thoroughly familiar with ODR a little over 10 years ago while assisting the creation of an online dispute resolution tool for manufacturers and suppliers. The pilot project involved GE Oil and Gas and its’ suppliers.

How do you think technology will impact dispute resolution in the next 5-10 years?

ODR will become part of the common fabric of public and private dispute resolution, providing access to justice for smaller claims and process efficiency for larger claims.

It’s no secret that commerce is global (think supply chains). ODR provides an efficient, economic and safe environment for resolving a multitude of disputes for parties who are geographically diverse. The economics are compelling, so much so that ODR really is more of a need than an option.

Could ODR transform the way dispute resolution is conducted?

ODR allows parties to resolve disputes where they live and work, without requiring the time and expense of travel. Too many individuals and companies abandon legitimate grievances rather than pursue them because of anticipated costs of travel, accommodation and hearing facilities. Access to a pool of trained, expert online arbitrators and mediators significantly increases the quali