Columbus, Ohio – for immediate release
The Franklin County Municipal Court launched an online platform to resolve income tax and small claims cases in the fall of 2016. Through the platform, people can access the court’s dispute resolution services online from anywhere via their personal mobile devices. As of March 2019, well over 1,000 people have used the platform to resolve over 1,000 cases online.
With the launch of this platform, the first in the US, the court became a national leader in court-connected online dispute resolution (ODR). The court has received national and international attention for its pioneering efforts, including an award from the Ohio State Bar Association’s 2017 Judicial Administration and Legal Reform Committee Innovative Court Practices Award, and articles and speaking invitations from as far away as Norway and Japan. The Franklin County Small Claims Division and Dispute Resolution Department offers this service free of charge to the public. The court now offers online dispute resolution for all civil case types.
Alex Sanchez, the manager of the Small Claims and Mediation Division at the court, knew the program would benefit the public.
“Mediation effectively and efficiently resolves disputes. Allowing individuals to participate online was a natural extension of our dispute resolution services. ODR has opened our court to individuals who might not otherwise be able to participate in mediation or come to court.”Alex Sanchez, Manager Small Claims and Mediation Division
About the ODR Platform
The online platform, Matterhorn ODR, allows people to initiate negotiations and mediations, and take full advantage of the online technology, including communicating with a mediator and electronically documenting signed written agreements. The online service complements (and does not replace) the dispute resolution and mediation services available from the court via in-person meetings and by phone. Participants always have the option to move forward in court. The online option is another convenient opportunity to communicate and exchange information.
MJ Cartwright, the General Manager of Matterhorn, is proud to see the outcomes the court has gained through ODR.
“The Vision of the Franklin County Municipal Court to extend access to their trained mediators and their services online improves access to justice for the people of Ohio and beyond. Alex Sanchez and his team have led the way to increasing access via opening the door to the court, online.”MJ Cartwright, Matterhorn General Manager
Congratulations to the leadership of the Franklin County Municipal Court for achieving this access to justice milestone: 1,000+ individuals and businesses assisted online.
About ODR in Franklin County, Ohio
- Hear more from Alex Sanchez
- Short video on what the court has achieved with ODR (3 minutes)
- Archived webinar on online mediation and ODR (60 minutes)
- Read the article on this program from the magazine of the Norwegian Judiciary
- View the court’s online site
- Learn more about ODR with Matterhorn