Matterhorn at the CCA Annual Conference

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Matterhorn participated in the 65th Annual Convention of the California Court Association (CCA). The convention was held Friday, August 11-Sunday, August 13 in Garden Grove, California. The CCA’s mission is “to provide a forum for education and best practices in the development of court professionals.”

Court Innovations’ Tracey Palmer attended and is shown below with Lizette Sweezer from Sacramento Superior Court, a CCA Director.

California Court Association Director Lizette Sweezer with Court Innovations’ Tracey Palmer at the 65th Annual CCA Convention.

Matterhorn featured in ABA Spotlight on Innovation Event

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University of Michigan Law Professor and Co-Founder of Court Innovations, J.J. Prescott, will present at American Bar Association Center for Innovation at the ABA Annual Meeting in New York City August 12, 2017. His presentation is one of ten “micro-presentations” (8 minutes) selected for this TED-style spotlight event. His talk, “Using Online Platform Technology to Improve Access to Justice – Real access to justice: Bringing the walls of the courthouse down” highlights real issues facing citizens and the courts and the positive outcomes achieved through online dispute resolution.


Access to justice, in practice, means access to money and resources. And the people who need access to justice the most are generally the least equipped to get it. For millions of Americans, using state courts to resolve their disputes – often with the government – is difficult at best. Using state courts today for all but the simplest of transactions (i.e., sending in a check for a parking ticket) requires – at a minimum – travelling to a court and meeting with a decision maker in person and in a one-on-one setting. Reforms often miss that a significant part of the problem is structural. Even minimally effective access, therefore, requires time, transportation, and often the financial wherewithal to miss work or to pay for child care. The result is tens of millions of outstanding minor warrants, poorly provided resolution services, and the cascade of problems that we have all observed nationwide when citizens, courts, and law enforcement are at odds.


Access to justice for everyday citizens can be dramatically improved by introducing platform technology that effectively opens courts to everyone. In courts that adopt such technology (e.g., Matterhorn), citizens are able to communicate with law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and other parties to seek relief or negotiate a resolution through an online portal at any time of day.


Introducing this technology dramatically reduces the time it takes for citizens to understand their situation, ask questions, negotiate, resolve their disputes, and pay any fines or fees they owe. Default rates plummet, and citizens engage more often with court personnel once the platform is in place. Cases close more quickly, the percentage of payments received increases, and it takes less time for courts to receive those payments.

Initial outcomes analysis shows

  • Reduction in warrants by 36% in family court cases
  • Reduction in family court show cause hearings by 27% because more cases were resolved before the hearing.
  • A 15% to 50% decrease in case payment default rates in civil infraction and criminal cases.
  • An 80% reduction in court staff time spent on routine hearings and procedures.
  • A reduction in case closure rates from an average of 50 days to 14 days
  • An average of 4.9 days to resolution for small claims online dispute resolution cases versus weeks and months offline.

Obstacles Overcome

  • Overcoming fear of technology in courts and law enforcement agencies
  • Overcoming perceived political risk from innovation
  • Ensuring willingness to interact with courts over mobile devices
  • Now in 25 courts across 3 states

About Court Innovations

Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Court Innovations is the first startup out of the University of Michigan Law School. Matterhorn allows courts to handle many high-volume infractions completely online, saving citizens and courts time and money. Matterhorn-enabled courts resolve cases more efficiently and equitably while retaining judicial and law enforcement discretion. Matterhorn-enabled courts offer 24/7 access and education which empower defendants to work with the court to resolve minor violations informally.

Matterhorn at NACM-IACA Joint Educational Conference

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If you are in Arlington, VA attending the NACM-IACA Joint Educational Conference – Building Excellence on a Global Scale, please visit us at Booth #901 in the Independence Center.

Along with education sessions on topics such as

  • equal access to justice,
  • court governance and leadership,
  • court technology and its deployment

we are enjoying great conversations with court administrators, judges, court staff from states around the country and countries around the world.

One of the education sessions earlier this week included online dispute resolution in Franklin County, OH with our software Matterhorn.

Product Specialist Teri Benedetti shows NACM-IACA conference attendees Matterhorn online dispute resolution

NCSC 2017 Trends in State Courts features Matterhorn

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The National Center for State Courts publication

2017 Trends in State Courts
Fines, Fees, and Bail Practices: Challenges and Opportunities

mentioned how Matterhorn and Court Innovations’ Co-Founder J.J. Prescott are increasing access to the courts through providing an online alternative to appearing in-person at court.

NCSC 2017 Trends in State Courts Fines, Fees, and Bail Practices: Challenges and Opportunities mentions Matterhorn.

We’re on page 38 – read the full publication on the NCSC website.

Online Dispute Resolution and the Courts at NACM17

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Alex Sanchez of Franklin County Municipal Court, Small Claims and Dispute Resolution, presented at the National Association for Court Management – International Association for Court Administration Joint Educational Conference July 10, 2017 in Arlington Virginia.

He shared Franklin County court’s experience using Matterhorn to take small claims dispute resolution online (see their website). Benefits include on-demand service, access, familiar text-based environment, comfort, and ease of an online solution.

With online dispute resolution, litigants have achieved quicker case resolution (average of 91 days compared to 103 days pre-odr).

Here are his conference slides: Online Dispute Resolution Presentation

Franklin County Small Claims Resolution with Matterhorn featured in Norwegian Judicial Magazine

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The magazine of the Norwegian Judiciary, Rett på Sak, wrote about Matterhorn’s successful small claims resolution in Franklin County, Ohio. Franklin County includes Ohio’s state capital Columbus and its surrounding area.

Benefits of Small Claims Resolution

According to Alex Sanchez, manager of the small claims and dispute resolution department at Franklin County Municipal Court,

“The direct results of the platform are more cases resolved prior to [main hearing]….
The biggest benefit to the parties is that they can resolve their case without setting aside time to come to court….
By providing one more avenue for case resolution, courts can dedicate time and resources to other projects and cases.”

How has Matterhorn been received? Alex Sanchez says,

“We received compliments from parties on the very first day the platform launched….Our court users have found our ODR negotiation platform easy to use and are appreciative of the time it saves.”

More about Franklin County’s Small Claims Resolution

The article’s authors, Colleen Anderson and Travis Peterson, are students in a joint program at the University of Toledo, Ohio, and the Folkeuniversitet i Trondheim (University of Trondheim).

The full issue of Rett på Sak can be found online on the Norges Domstoler (Judiciary of Norway) website. The magazine is available as a PDF and the article about us (in English!) is on pages 26-27.screenshot from Norges Domstoler magazine

We are thrilled by the continuing international and national interest in Matterhorn (including the recent presentation at the International ODR conference in Paris). We are particularly pleased that the users of the system find it valuable.

Presentations in Sicily and Taiwan

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Friday: Sicily

Court Innovations Co-founder J.J. Prescott presented Friday at “Empirical Methods for the Law” in Syracuse, Sicily. The Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE) organized this event.

His presentation is “Assessing Access to Justice Outreach Strategies”.

Tuesday: Taiwan

On Tuesday, he presented “Platform Procedure: Using Technology to Facilitate (Efficient) Civil Settlement” at the Conference on Empirical Legal Studies in Asia (CELSA) 2017 & 4th Empirical Studies of Judicial Systems International Conference Symposium “Do Courts Rule Efficiently? Empirical Inquiries” at Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.

Do Courts Rule Efficiently? Empirical Inquiries