Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
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The Growth of E-Commerce and Online Dispute Resolution in Developing Nations: An Analysis

Authors: Robin V. Cupido


Online dispute resolution has been identified in many countries as a viable alternative for resolving conflicts which have arisen in the so-called digital age. This system of dispute resolution is developing alongside the Internet, and as new types of transactions are made possible by our increased connectivity, new ways of resolving disputes must be explored. Developed nations, such as the United States of America and the European Union, have been involved in creating these online dispute resolution mechanisms from the outset, and currently have sophisticated systems in place to deal with conflicts arising in a number of different fields, such as e-commerce, domain name disputes, labour disputes and conflicts arising from family law. Specifically, in the field of e-commerce, the Internet’s borderless nature has served as a way to promote cross-border trade, and has created a global marketplace. Participation in this marketplace boosts a country’s economy, as new markets are now available, and consumers can transact from anywhere in the world. It would be especially advantageous for developing nations to be a part of this global marketplace, as it could stimulate much-needed investment in these nations, and encourage international co-operation and trade. However, for these types of transactions to proliferate, an effective system for resolving the inevitable disputes arising from such an increase in e-commerce is needed. Online dispute resolution scholarship and practice is flourishing in developed nations, and it is clear that the gap is widening between developed and developing nations in this regard. The potential for implementing online dispute resolution in developing countries has been discussed, but there are a number of obstacles that have thus far prevented its continued development. This paper aims to evaluate the various political, infrastructural and socio-economic challenges faced in developing nations, and to question how these have impacted the acceptance and development of online dispute resolution, scholarship and training of online dispute resolution practitioners and, ultimately, developing nations’ readiness to participate in cross-border e-commerce.

Keywords: Developing countries, feasibility, online dispute resolution, progress.

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