USAID Promotes Online Dispute Resolution Systems in Ukraine

The USAID New Justice Program, together with the High Council of Justice and Kyiv District Court in Odesa City, is supporting the development of an online platform that allows the public to quickly and conveniently access legal information and prepare legal documents.

The platform, which will be formally launched in September 2020, includes a “Solution Explorer” that will initially provide automated pathways necessary for resolving disputes related to traffic violations, divorce matters, and alimony payments. The system will provide users with structured legal information regarding these types of cases and guide them in preparing legal documents based on templates that can be submitted electronically to courts or other government agencies. This platform will also permit expanding to other types of cases and forms as well as the incorporation of online mechanisms for negotiations and mediation to assist parties in resolving disputes on their own without going to court.

This initiative builds on a series of New Justice and its Ukrainian partners activities on advancing the introduction of online dispute resolution (ODR) tools in Ukraine. In September 2017, the Program organized and conducted the International Online Dispute Resolution Conference with participation of international ODR experts and Ukrainian judges, lawyers, mediators, representatives of state authorities, judicial self-government, civil society, business associations, universities, as well as software developers and entrepreneurs.

One of the recommendations developed during the conference was the inclusion of the ODR program in Ukraine’s state justice system. To implement this recommendation, the online dispute resolution expert Shannon Salter, Chair of the Civil Tribunal for British Columbia (Canada), invited by the USAID New Justice Program, assessed the potential and options for implementing ODR in the courts of Ukraine. Subsequently, the development of the Solution Explorer software was chosen as the optimal option for the implementation of ODR in Ukraine. These development efforts are also based on the Program’s many years of experience of cooperation with the State Judicial Administration in implementing electronic case management in courts and other institutions of the justice sector, as a result of which many courts are currently able to receive and process documents online.

The improvement of online platform’s functionality will be facilitated by the expected USAID New Justice Program’s cooperation with the Anti-Monopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) in developing online complaint forms for the public procurement procedures and other documents that may also be implemented through the Solution Explorer system. In addition, the Program plans to engage in this project the developers of the “Court on the Palm” portal – an analytical tool for searching, researching and visualizing court decisions. In 2017, USAID supported the startup incubation program along with other innovative solutions to simplify access to justice. Today, its principles and experience can be of use when developing new solutions to improve the AMCU working procedures.

It is expected that the ODR system created as a result of such comprehensive efforts will be transferred to all interested parties for use and further development. This will provide greater access to justice by helping litigants resolve their disputes more quickly with greater satisfaction while ultimately reducing court workloads.