Policy Brief: One-stop Shop Dispute Resolution

One-stop shop dispute resolution systems humanise legal procedures by giving people more control over how their disputes will be resolved. They gradually escalate the dispute resolution process, starting from allowing the disputing parties to negotiate, to having a neutral third party intervention. In this journey, users of the system have a range of available options via which they can resolve the problem, namely: negotiation, mediation and decisions by a judge. Some systems also provide aftercare solutions to the disputing parties. The integration of technology into the dispute resolution processes makes the platforms not only user-centred but also accessible.

Although the enthusiasm for one-stop dispute resolution systems is huge, and many courts now operate online dispute resolution modules, few examples of large scale implementation exist. In this policy brief, we list a number of critical success factors that we derived from conversations with leading experts in this field. We also used our experience in dispute system design projects and national programmes oriented towards implementing what is now called people-centred justice. Whilst this remains work in progress, these insights can help ministries of justice, court leaders and private initiatives that are considering implementing one-stop shop dispute resolution systems to focus their efforts.

During the next few years, we expect the best systems to specialise in one dispute type. They are likely to grow fast if lawyers and judges have a clear role in the workflow and if public-private partnerships are fleshed out in detail. Monitoring outcomes and quantifying impact is also expected to improve, strengthening the case for one-stop shop dispute resolution systems, which have a huge potential for ensuring equal access to justice for all.