Team ODRWays, an online dispute resolution organisation run by students of the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (WBNUJS, Kolkata) has won the E-ADR Challenge 2019 set up by HumLab and Vayam.
The E-ADR Challenge is part of the Agami Challenges, which are invitations for innovators to develop solutions for specific, clearly-framed problems in the legal sector. The Challenge invites innovators and practitioners to set up an institution that will offer e-arbitration services and will be an online aggregation platform for providers of mediation and conciliation.
A jury comprising former Supreme Court judge, Justice BN Srikrishna, Ashoka Fellow Sonali Ojha, Vineet Rai of Aavishkaar Ventures, Amit Sharma of ShopX, and Sanjay Purohit of Societal Platforms gathered at the Mumbai office of Trilegal to decide which team shall build and lead the institution. The Challenge was launched in February this year and 16 teams from around the world, including the USA, UK, Brazil, and the Middle East applied for it.
In the end, the jury decided that Team ODRWays – run by NUJS final year students Pranjal Sinha and Akshetha Ashok – would be most capable of building the E-ADR institution.
To take the initiative forward, ICICI Bank has committed to referring 10,000 of its disputes to this E-ADR institution. Commenting in a press release, ICICI Group General Counsel Pramod Rao said,
“In India’s current context, with the judiciary being overburdened and understaffed, the disputants clearly need cost-effective, speedier solutions. Exploring alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in this context, bolstered by the policy level support/changes in Arbitration Act, the advent of both bandwidth and technology, and finally availability of legal talent in good numbers, makes it an excellent platform for the society, corporates and consumers alike to explore and benefit from.”
Partner and Head of Disputes at Trilegal Sitesh Mukherjee said,
“Court dockets are overburdened in dealing with public law issues, even as governments and regulators all over the globe are in expansionary mode. Arbitrations have become increasingly expensive and hence more suited for high value and complex disputes. Both these traditional modes of dispute resolution have become somewhat unsuitable for millions of individuals and small businesses who are transacting with each other sitting in different parts of the globe, sometimes on cloud based trans-national platforms.
Alternate dispute resolution platforms could be designed to meet the needs of this huge segment of B2B and B2C transactions. Such ADR platforms must be cost effective as well as efficacious.”
Founder of HumLab Sachin Malhan had earlier revealed to Bar & Bench the idea behind the E-ADR Challenge.
“The idea behind the challenge is to build a scalable platform for dispute resolution that can tap pools of arbitrators and mediators and can even offer some kind of technology-aided resolution. It is a bit like the Uber of dispute resolution. We also want to spur the creation of new classes of dispute resolution professionals.”