May 8, 2013

A public meeting of the Study Group on Online Dispute Resolution was held under the auspices of the Advisory Committee on Private International Law on May 8, 2013, at the Department of State, Room 240, South Building, State Department Annex 4, 2430 E Street, NW, Washington DC.

The meeting was convened to discuss the continuing work in UNCITRAL on the development of online dispute resolution (ODR) legal instruments for resolving both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) cross-border e-commerce disputes, in anticipation of a seventh meeting of the UNCITRAL working group on online dispute resolution scheduled to take place in New York, May 20-24. The working group was established by the Commission in July 2010 pursuant to a U.S. proposal. The UNCITRAL working group is preparing generic ODR procedural rules applicable to low-value, high-volume cross-border e-commerce transactions as well as separate annexes on guidelines and minimum requirements for ODR providers and neutrals, substantive legal principles for resolving disputes, and a cross-border enforcement mechanism.

The Study Group reviewed the current Secretariat draft of the proposed UNCITRAL generic ODR procedural rules and the report of the last UNCITRAL working group session in December 2012. The discussion centered on several new provisions in the Secretariat draft (WP119, add1) including: article 9(8) providing that the online arbitrator shall decide ex aequo et bono, in accordance with the terms of the contract; article 9 ter providing for an internal review mechanism; article 10 on place of arbitration; and a two track approach providing for both negotiation and facilitated settlement as well as negotiation, facilitated settlement, and arbitration.

No matter was resolved. No report was approved. It is expected that another meeting will be scheduled after the May 20-24 working group session.