Court-Connected Online Dispute Resolution Video: Resources Saved, Justice Served

Learn more about court-connected online dispute resolution via a one-hour video, an archive of a webinar held January 18, 2018. The video covers the Franklin County Municipal Court’s use of Matterhorn online dispute resolution for small claims cases.

This video, entitled Resources Saved, Justice Served, features

  • Alex Sanchez, Manager of Small Claims and Dispute Resolution at the Franklin County Municipal Court and
  • MJ Cartwright, CEO of online dispute resolution platform provider Matterhorn by Court Innovations.

Giuseppe Leone of VirtualMediationLab moderated the event.

View the Online Dispute Resolution Video 

Court-Connected Online Dispute Resolution Video Description

Sanchez described the platform offered by the Franklin County Municipal Court (FCMC) for small claims case online resolutions. The court has expanded the options, originally offered only for city tax cases, to include other types of cases.

A benefit of online dispute resolution for small claims cases is that the parties can work together and with a neutral third-party mediator via any device, from anywhere, and at any time. If the parties cannot resolve their dispute online, they can always go to court for their hearing.

Alex Sanchez shares the FCMC’s ODR Experience

First, Sanchez shared his court’s experience and outcomes in the fifteen months since launch.

  • An overview of the platform and process (starting at 15:14).
  • Comfortable and familiar for parties (15:45): “if you can text message, you can use the system.”
  • Easy for the court (16:18). The court did not need their IT staff to set up or implement the system. The court was launching e-filing and IT resources were focused elsewhere.
  • Quick to start (16:58).
  • Accessible (18:13). About a third of the public access the system outside of court business hours.
  • Accessible across income levels. Sanchez shared the usage of the system by median income, it seems that technology access spans income levels (18:50).
  • Results show: Increased the number of agreements and positive dispositions (20:00).

Notes from MJ Cartwright on Court-Connected ODR Best Practices

Next, MJ Cartwright shared best practices and considerations for court-connected online dispute resolution:

  • Where to start? (24:12) The National Center for State Courts and others recommend courts focus on the high volume, lower complexity cases. This emphasis allows courts to spend more time with those cases that require face-to-face handling.
  • Then, share the news to let people know the court offers this online capability (25:20).
  • Define paths of escalation: how/when issues will be escalated to a mediator or handled in person (26:38).
  • Plan how agreements will be documented (27:03).
  • Take an iterative approach and learn from public feedback (28:00).

Then, Q&A started at 32:50.

Recommended Resources for Court Connected Online Dispute Resolution

  • JTC Resource Bulletin – Case Studies in ODR for Courts: A View from the Front Lines. This report covers Franklin County Municipal Court’s platform. Open the PDF.
  • JTC Resource Bulletin – ODR for Courts v. 2. Open the PDF.
  • See all JTC Resource publications on the NCSC website.

Learn more about Franklin County Municipal Court’s use of Matterhorn

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Posted in Event, Small Claims.