Outputs: The project will implement a three-day workshop which will be held in December 2022 in Tokyo, Japan. The workshop will seek to further implement the ODR Collaborative Framework.
1. Study on Best Practices in the Use of ODR – APEC Publication
a. Select and contract a consultant to create a draft Study on Best Practices in the Use of ODR (October-November 2022) aimed at developing a user-centric approach to ODR in the private and public (courts) fora, including through the APEC ODR Collaborative Framework (25-30 pages with 7 best practices) – includes ToR, APEC Secretariat approvals and issuing of $20,000 contract.
b. Contractor will identify best practices on Use of ODR primarly through desktop research.
c. POs review the draft Study on Best Practices in the Use of ODR to be presented at the Workshop.
2. 3-day Workshop, December 2022, Tokyo, Japan
a. 80 participants (including 22 travel-eligible, plus 15 speakers and the contractor):
i. POs will invite relevant policymakers and government officials responsible for the design and implementation of ODR reforms in member economies. Relevant agencies will include Ministries of Justice, Economy, and Economic Planning.
ii. POs will invite experts from other APEC fora (e.g., ABAC, SMEWG, ECSG, GOS, TELWG).
iii. POs will invite experts from the private sector and academia as well as private online dispute resolution providers and regional arbitration and mediation centers interested in partnering with APEC on an ODR pilot program.
iv. POs will also invite key experts from relevant international institutions such as UNCITRAL
v. Workshop will be held in-person. Plan would be to start workshop at 9 each day and end at 5.
vi. PO’s will consider including different capacity-building activities, such as small group work, to drill down on specific topics, best practices, recommendations or questions, brainstorming sessions led by experts, etc.
b. Workshop Plan:
i. Contractor will Present Study on Best Practices in the Use of ODR to develop a user-centric approach to ODR in both the private (including through the APEC ODR Collaborative Framework) and public fora (courts). The Study will include AI use in ODR and ODR use in B2C disputes in APEC economies. Participants will be invited to offer comments on the Study. Contractor may revise Study based on comments received. Recommendations will be included in the Workshop report for subsequent review by SELI and EC.
ii. POs and Contractor will lead discussion addressing administrative details and issues arising from the implementation of the Framework through the Administrative Implementation Work Plan for subsequent review by SELI and the EC. The panel discussion will be led by the POs and Contractor. Recommendations will be included in the Workshop Report.
iii. Panel session will 1/ give APEC-partnering ODR providers an opportunity to share their experience under the Collaborative Framework and 2/ give other ODR providers an opportunity to partner with the APEC EC by agreeing to follow the Framework and Procedural Rules (and get listed on the APEC EC webpage).
iv. Panel session will allow economies to explain their reasons for opting into the Collaborative Framework and provide expert capacity-building advice concerning the creation of a framework for economies considering opting-in to the Framework as well as for economies’ use of ODR for domestic dispute resolution including in the courts.
v. Panel session will address how the APEC ODR Collaborative Famework contributes to all four pillars of EAASR and benefits MSMEs and women-owned businesses.
vi. Panel session led by Contractor and experts will present an overview of ODR platforms that have been implemented at a regional level (including through private sector ODR providers) and by economies (including through the courts).
vii. Panel session led by lead academics and ABAC will advise participating economies on how to promote the Framework and encourage businesses (including MSMEs) to consider settling their disputes by ODR using the listed ODR providers. POs will solicit ABAC’s and academic institutions’ assistance.
viii. Panel session lead by experts (including from relevant international institutions such as UNCITRAL) will discuss how economies can further harmonize relevant laws to improve the ODR legal framework using existing international instruments (as provided in the Framework and SELI work plan). At the request of participating economies, the POs may ask the contractor to review member economy implementation of private international law instruments relevant to ODR.
3. Summary Workshop Report (10-15 pages) will be presented to SELI and the EC at EC1 or EC2 (2023)
a. Summary of discussions and presentations, participant conclusions and recommendations and draft Study on the Use of ODR. The report may also include a discussion of the use of artificial intelligence in ODR, use of ODR for business to consumer (B2B) disputes (currently the Framework is limited to B2B disputes) as well as use of ODR in the private and public sectors (courts).
b. Circulation for endorsement at EC1 or EC2 2023.
1. The Workshop will provide economies with knowledge of the benefits of ODR and the Framework and encourage more of them to “opt in” to the Framework.
2. Additional ODR providers including regional arbitration and mediation centers will partner with the APEC EC by agreeing to follow the Framework and Procedural Rules and provide their own platforms. Currently, 3 ODR Providers have partnered with the APEC EC. ODR Providers that have partnered with the APEC EC are listed on the EC ODR webpage.
3. Member economies will use the knowledge gained at the Workshop to encourage their businesses (including MSMEs) to agree to settle their disputes by ODR and/by using the listed ODR providers as provided in the Framework. POs will request partnering ODR providers to provide periodic updates to SELI on the number of businesses that have agreed to use their services.
4. Member economies will use the knowledge gained about ODR to implement user-centric ODR in their public sector (including courts). POs will survey economies on the use of ODR in courts through SELI.
5. Member economies will use the knowledge gained at the Workshop for the improvement of legal regimes on ODR including through the implementation of UNCITRAL texts. POs will monitor the number of APEC economics that have implemented key instruments supporting an ODR legal framework through the UNCITRAL web site and SELI.
Beneficiaries: Immediate beneficiaries of this project will be the member economies and key industry stakeholders/partners. Member economies are welcome to nominate relevant government officials responsible for the design and implementation of dispute resolution systems involving ODR including for the courts. POs would seek recommendations on the participation of key private sector stakeholders/partners—such as ODR providers and businesses—from economies, SELI and ABAC. The selection criteria would be as inclusive as possible. Long-term beneficiaries will be the MSMEs in APEC economies, which will be able to increase their economic participation and reduce business risks through the use of ODR.