With grant support from SJI, and technical assistance provided by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), the Utah Courts have completed a multi-year review of the online dispute resolution (ODR) program.
In September of 2018, Utah became one of the first states to initiate an ODR pilot effort to aid in the processing of small claims cases effectively and efficiently. Often litigants are self-represented, and the dockets fill quickly – lending these case types to benefit greatly from streamlined and procedural improvements made possible through technology.
The report, titled Impact of the Utah Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Pilot Program, provides a thorough evaluation of Utah Courts’ in-house, customized ODR system, the procedural requirements for ODR, and impact of their system. In the recommendations, the consultant advises the Courts to review the findings of the 2020 University of Arizona’s usability study, to help guide improvements to the current ODR platform in advance of statewide deployment.
Ultimately, both reports acknowledge that, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, court users were both receptive and ready for online solutions. With COVID-19, the national trend finds jurisdictions embracing remote courts as a way of creating fair, just, and equitable online legal environments that meet the needs of all users.