This is the fifth and last article in a series that will be concentrated on alternative dispute resolution.
Its goal is to make you, the reader, whether you are a consumer or a business, acquainted with the ADR as well as to show you the importance and potential of digital technologies when it comes to alternative dispute resolution.
In this article, we are going to learn about the digital potential of ADR, and how further digitalization can positively impact its efficiency. This will be best done throughout the words of Felix Braun, CEO of the Residual ADR Body Germany, which has its headquarters in Kehl.
Q: To begin with this interview, can you first tell our blog readers who you are and what is your role in the Residual ADR Body Germany?
My name is Felix and I’m the CEO and founder of the Centre for Conciliation (Zentrum für Schlichtung) which hosts the Residual ADR Body Germany.
I had my first contact with the world of ADR in 2005 and since then, I find the idea quite enthusing: easy access to justice, mostly in cases in which nobody would want to go to court due to low or medium sums in dispute.
According to the Roland Rechtsreport 2022, people in Germany only consider going to court for a sum in dispute of 3.683 euros or more. But what use are legal positions if you don’t dare to clarify the legal situation? ADR – conciliation, to be precise – is the answer to that vacuum!
Q: We saw in an other article how digital tools impact the everyday functioning of your ADR Body. What do you think, would the work look like without those tools?
We might have big baskets full of cases loitering in the hall of our office waiting for a long time to be dealt with… That really happened to colleagues of us from other ADR bodies some years ago when thousands of cases were filed within short notice as a reaction of a new decision by our federal supreme court. Of course, also cases that come in via a digital way need human assessment, but legal tech can help a lot to deal with them efficiently.
Q: We understand the importance of the digital in the work of your ADR Body, and seeing the positive influences, do you have any further plans when it comes to the use of digital technologies?
You certainly heard about the Volkswagen Diesel Gate. Back in 2020, we could have had ten thousand cases in a very short time if there hadn’t been an agreement between the car manufacturer and a consumer association that made sure that the concerned customers were individually taken care of. Since then, we are constantly working on legal tech solutions that would allow us to treat such a number of cases without hiring hundreds of lawyers for a short time – which would be close to impossible, by the way, only a few would want such a short-term job.
The idea being that the legal analysis of mass phenomena cases with a similar structure can be easily pre-checked by a computer, a huge gain of time for our lawyers, ensuring quality and a very equal assessment of the case.
Q: I see that you have a modern and digital spirit that has the potential to be trendsetting in the ADR world, where do you see the digitalization of ADR procedures in the future, let’s say in 5 years?
The sky is the limit (he laughs). No, honestly, it is important to have a close – and definitively human – eye on those subjects and see how much we can trust AI. Despite all technical progress, ethics and a very democratic foundation of law and justice must remain essential conditio qua nons. In an ideal world, AI could help a lot, depending on the quality and transparency of the algorithms, and then legal professionals can concentrate on cases needing special attention… let’s see… or ask Marty McFly.
Thank you for your time and insides in the digital world of ADR.
Aleksandra Dubovac – M2 Cyberjustice – Promotion 2021/2022