Online Dispute Resolution: The Advantages and Disadvantages of ODR

Online Dispute Resolution, or commonly referred to as ODR, has its inherent advantages and disadvantages just like any other service or platform. ODR involves resolving disagreements mainly on a digital platform.

Although ODR’s disadvantage is the need to have the technology (Internet and communication means) to utilize it, its advantages are still of good weight. ODR is cost-effective, efficient, and flexible to its clients. Now, let us look deeper into the pros and cons of ODR.

The main advantages of ODR can be summarized as follows:

  1. Cost reductions in comparsion to In-person alternative dispute resolution and litigation.
  2. Flexibility as there is no need for physical presence.
  3. Efficiency as time barriers are not an issue and parties can exchange documents and replies instantly online.
  4. Involvement and influence – face to face influnece and biases are reduced.
  5. Confidentiality can be maintained.

The main disadvantages of ODR can be summarized as follows:

  1. Enforeceability concerns arise, especially in cross-border disputes and references to written agreements and the Newyork convention.
  2. Language and literacy of online disputants. Language barriers and culture differences arise.
  3. Online persuasion behaviour. For example, According to studies, online negotiation can be faster but concession and fair agreements chances are reduced.
  4. Lack of face-to-face interactions, and hence is impersonal.
  5. Potential inaccessibility for online means for some periods.
  6. Confidentiality can be breached by disputants.

For more support on documents required for disputes and legal issues, click here for readily available advice.

For more about ODR status in different countries in Online Dispute Resolution in the UK, Canada and UAE. In addition, a comparative study of ADR pros and cons is in Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and it’s advantages and disadvantages and Overcoming ODR Drawbacks in Marginalized Areas and People with Fewer Resources.

The advantages and disadvantages of ODR are worth exploring

Of course, ODR has many advantages and disadvantages, given that we see them from different perspectives. In a nutshell, ODR is very flexible to the parties involved.

There are asynchronous methods available for you, such as emails or instant chats. Both parties can meet and converse at their most convenient time.

Also, ODR is done informally. The procedures and evidence presentation are not really “by the book.” Another advantage of this system is its cost.

It costs less than other litigation fees. ODR is, therefore, more affordable to any party who would need to have an ODR. Check out the EU order requirements in the EU ODR Platform and EU ODR Platform: The Ultimate Guide for Successful Dispute Resolutions.

The most crucial advantage of ODR is its efficiency. People can attend despite geographical barriers and physical disabilities.

Moreover, if you worry about confidentiality, ODR still fits this. ODR is bound by the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, making each litigation information confidential.

Now on the other side, given that this needs to be online, parties need to access these kinds of platforms. A disadvantage is that people need to have smartphones and the internet to litigate via ODR.

Communication barriers can also be a disadvantage. People need to be able to read and write well. Also, both parties need to understand and be proficient in the same language to communicate on the same topic.

Now that you have read the gist, you would probably be interested to know how these advantages and disadvantages affect the use of ODR as a resolution platform. Hopefully, the following few paragraphs of this article on the pros and cons can help you decide if ODR is helpful. Moreover, you will see if ODR is the best for you and your situation.

What are the advantages of ODR?

ODR is a system designed to provide a venue where disputes can be talked about and even settled. It aims to resolve disputes over the internet within digital media.

As you may have noticed, the world is slowly transitioning to being very reliant on the internet. Our lives revolve around it, and many aspects of our day-to-day living are being carried over to an online platform.

ODR is also a manifestation of using the internet to change how we used to do things. So now we would want to know what makes ODR advantageous over face-to-face litigation of cases. In brief, the following lists the advantages of ODR:


Online dispute resolution is primarily less expensive than conventional litigation processes. Moreover, its litigation costs are usually less.

This is an advantage of ODR because more people can access it without worrying too much about how much it will cost them.

In any litigation, parties would want to lower the cost to be shouldered. Compensations are also given to the neutral evaluators of a case. In ODR, both parties pay them equally for a sense of equality in outcome and ownership.

Another cost consideration is travel expenses. In face-to-face litigations, traveling is required so that both parties will meet at a particular venue to convene.

ODR cuts out that cost of traveling. This lessens the overall cost to be shouldered by the parties involved.


ODR is a very flexible system. Parties involved have total control over their time and availability to discuss their matters.  Also, parties are free to choose to communicate in real-time or if they prefer delayed means.

This is possible because ODR has both synchronous and asynchronous means of settling disputes. Synchronous means involve video calls or zoom meetings. 

Or parties can opt to resolve their conflicts asynchronously thru an exchange of emails.

Besides, ODR is very informal. It is not strictly “by the book.” Parties can present their evidence in a very flexible and creative manner. Hence, this setup encourages parties to be consensual.


With ODR, resolution can happen in a lesser amount of time. This makes the procedure efficient as a lot is done, which does not require a lot of time for you.

ODR allows all parties to be in a place where they are comfortable. They can work more efficiently since this is an environment where they have complete control.


The degree of your involvement during any dispute resolution dictates the direction of the ruling. The more involved you are, the more chance you have to present your side.

In face-to-face litigations, parties that are closer or have more access to the location will have an advantage in terms of influence.

ODR has a better means of making both parties equally involved since it is in an equally accessible online platform.

Another aspect of involvement is that geographical distance, physical disabilities, and personal sensitivities will not hinder you from participating in discussions.

You can stay in your safe area and still be able to present your cases or evidence.


Of course, any dispute settlement needs to be confidential. The matter should ideally be for the parties involved and the neutral officer. The ODR system follows the Privacy Act and the Access to Information act.

Confidentiality gives the parties the freedom to express as much evidence or information they have without fear of publicly disclosing them.

This increases the amount of data taken in by the neutral officers and can deliberate the dispute better.

What are the disadvantages of ODR?

As you may have learned from this article already, ODR functions on an online platform. Given all the advantages above, there are also disadvantages to consider.

The main disadvantage is the fact that ODR is on an online platform. Both parties, even the mediators, need to have the technology to participate in it.

This includes an internet connection with sufficient bandwidth and an electronic device like a laptop or a smartphone.

Along with these technologies, parties need to be able to maneuver these devices very well.

It was discussed that involvement is an advantage of ODR. But there would be no such level of involvement in parties that do not have knowledge or means of accessing the internet.

Also, communication in ODR is very different from face-to-face litigations. In ODR, you need to be proficient in reading and writing so that you can participate asynchronously through emails or chat.  

If you cannot communicate or write effectively in an online medium, it will be of significant disadvantage to you and your party.

What is ODR, and how does it work?

Now that we have seen the pros and cons of ODR let us quickly go through the process of ODR. This system is a digital space for meeting and talking about disputes over the internet and hopefully resolving them over the internet.

ODR is exclusively online. This means that there are no face-to-face court interactions like those in traditional litigation processes. 

The process of online dispute resolution would include both convenings to discuss the causes of disputes between parties and hopefully arrive at a decision.

ODR is not merely a place where debts are negotiated to be paid for. ODR is also for having a resolution for these cases of dispute.

The parties involved can request to have a third, neutral party assist them in arriving at a fair resolution. ODR is advantageous because it works so that both parties must agree before arriving at a solution.

This means that the parties will be given a feasible resolution.

If no agreement were reached, the parties would have to proceed to an actual hearing. The process will proceed and be resolved there.

With these components in mind, we can say that ODR is an extension of the internet of the existing judiciary system.  This gives a broader reach for serving citizens efficiently, fairly, transparent, and cost-effective.

Is ODR the best for us?

Online dispute resolution is a system with a positive impact on a legal professional regarding the resolution of disputes over the internet.

Noting the advantages mentioned earlier, we can say that ODR is efficient given that we have the resources. As the world is gearing more to use the virtual world better, ODR is getting more suited to our day-to-day needs.

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