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Requirements for Online Mediation

Monday, May, 9, 2011

As online mediation grows in popularity, those who are considering using this technique for alternative dispute should give consideration to basic requirements that need to be met for it to be successful.  Online mediation is not the same as an in-person conference with a mediation attorney and the opposing side.


The Importance of Infrastructure in Online Mediation


One vital consideration for mediating online is that both parties must have access to the internet.  Moreover, such access must be both regular and cost-effective.  If one party can only access the World Wide Web at work or by going to a local coffee shop, online mediation is less than likely to be an appropriate dispute resolution mechanism.


Since most communication online takes the form of writing, it is essential that all participants be literate in a common language.  If not, an interpreter can be used but this will add to the expense of the proceedings and may cause delays or awkwardness.


All parties to the dispute must have adequate computer skills so that they are able to both send and receive information pertinent to the case.  In addition, security measures must be in place to protect the confidentiality of such information.  Password protection is one possible method, but care must also be taken that messages are encrypted during transmission so that they will not be wide-open to being read by third parties who may intercept transmissions.  Physical computers used to store information by either party must also be secured.