Courts who make themselves available via an online dispute resolution (ODR) platform increase access to justice.
These pioneering courts free the public to interact with the court from anywhere (read more on ODR participation by location). So, when do people take advantage of this access?
We looked at the patterns of use for two different courts with different case types to see when people access the platform. Based on the business hours of each court, we categorized use as:
- During Business Hours
- After Hours
- On Weekends
Here are the summaries from two courts: 54B District Court in East Lansing, Michigan and the Franklin County Municipal Court in Columbus, Ohio. The 54B District Court uses the platform for online adjudication of traffic and parking citations, warrant resolution, and online plea. The Franklin County Municipal Court uses the platform for the resolution of small claims cases.
Online Adjudication of Traffic Citations: Time of Day analysis
The 54B District Court is open 8 AM – 12 noon and 1 PM – 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. The court’s online platform is open 24/7. From January through July 2019, 73% of all use of the platform was outside of the court’s business hours (46% of use by the public is after hours on weekdays, while 27% is on weekend hours).
Online Dispute Resolution for Small Claims: Time of Day analysis
The Franklin County Municipal Court is open 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. The court’s online platform is open 24/7. From January through July 2019, 37% of all use of the platform was outside of the court’s business hours (28% of use by the public is after hours on weekdays, while 9% is on weekend hours).
Driven by Demographics?
In both cases, people are using the platform to access the court from anywhere. In the 54B District Court, they are doing this more after hours and on weekends. We don’t know why this is, but we do notice a different distribution of ages using the platform in each court.
East Lansing is a college town, and many of the cases that go through the platform are parking citations around Michigan State University. Columbus is also a college town, and it is the capital of the state of Ohio, so it is serving a different population with a different distribution of ages.