Trends in State Courts: ODR in Ohio Powers Positive Outcomes

The National Center for State Courts released its 2020 Trends in State Courts this month. One article highlights access to justice via ODR in Ohio. The article “Access Empowers: How ODR Increased Participation and Positive Outcomes in Ohio” (PDF) covers the experience of Franklin County Municipal Court in Columbus.

ODR in Ohio: Increased participation and positive outcomes
ODR in Ohio: Increased participation and positive outcomes

The Franklin County Municipal Court (FCMC) in Columbus, Ohio and Court Innovations Inc. developed the first court-connected, small-claims online-dispute resolution (ODR) platform in the United States in 2016. Since launch, the ODR platform has enhanced efficiency and fairness and improved case outcomes by empowering court users across income and race demographics to participate in the small-claims process and voluntarily resolve cases through negotiation and mediation. After more than three years of implementation and data collection, the FCMC ODR platform demonstrates how courts can bridge both the access-to-justice and social-justice gaps by combining alternative dispute
resolution with online technology.

Alex Sanchez, Franklin County Municipal Court, Ohio and
Paul Embley, Technology Director, National Center for State Courts

The court sought to increase access to justice for all and to decrease the number of default judgments in small claims cases. The article details the program’s launch and its outcomes.

Outcomes include a reduction in default judgments by 10% and an increase in dismissals. Another outcome is positive feedback on procedural and and substantive fairness from participants. The article features some satisfaction survey responses, including this one:

It can be overwhelming and intimidating to go to the courtroom, online made the whole process so much less intimidating and more comfortable to come up with a resolution.

An ODR platform participant’s satisfaction survey response

Learn more about ODR in Ohio

Posted in Event, Small Claims.