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Online mediation slowly picking up speed

As technology advances, processes of all types are impacted. While technology has been embraced in many industries, there are some that are slower to take advantage of what is available. For example, Online Dispute Resolution is not utilized nearly as often as most would likely assume. When it is, mediation through this method is usually text-based. While there are some instances where it works, the lack of verbal or face to face interaction can pose some challenges.  

While many likely assume that those issues could be solved through the introduction of video to the process, a paper recently published on the matter explores how that introduction impacts the process of mediating without being in the same room. The addition of video provides contextual cues that can only be present when people communicate face-to-face but according to the paper does not completely resolve issues that arise as a result of not being in the same room. Specifically the article focuses on interpersonal trust which is key to so many successful mediations.

That’s not to say that there couldn’t be benefits to using the video in the course of conducting ODR. One reason that so many people select mediation is because it is affordable. Removing the need to travel distances to participate in the process may make it even more affordable and therefore more appealing.

There are a variety of matters that can be resolved via mediation. For the best results it is a good idea to work with a mediator that has handled similar matters in the past.

Source:, “Video-based mediation – it’s starting to happen. What do we need to know?” Noam Ebner, April 2014

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