Platform Procedure: Using Technology to Facilitate (Efficient) Civil Settlement

Selection and Decision in Judicial Process around the World: Empirical Inquiries (Yun-chien Chang, ed.) (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2020), pp. 30–72

43 Pages Posted: 22 May 2020

See all articles by J.J. Prescott

J.J. Prescott

University of Michigan Law School

Alexander Sanchez

Franklin County Municipal Court, Columbus, Ohio

Date Written: December 2019

Abstract

In this chapter, we explore the ability of courts to enhance the role of substantive law in case outcomes by reducing party litigation costs. When it becomes less costly for parties to engage actively in dispute resolution, the shadow of substantive law should, in theory, become more pronounced and case outcomes should change (and hopefully become more accurate/efficient on average). To empirically investigate this hypothesis, we examine the consequences of a large state court’s implementation of court-assisted online dispute resolution (ODR) tools for its small claims docket. A central goal of this technology is to reduce litigation costs of all sorts so that parties are able to communicate easily and negotiate settlements quickly in the shadow of what is—or could be—efficient substantive law, thereby avoiding inefficient status quo outcomes, like default judgments. ODR tools enhance court efficiency and litigant satisfaction by giving parties on‐demand, inexpensive access to a private and secure platform to negotiate an agreement that fully resolves their dispute. We find that, by reducing costs, eliminating procedural inefficiencies, and placing decision-making power in the hands of the parties, platform technology reduces the likelihood of default and likely improves the substantive outcome of disputes.

Suggested Citation

Prescott, J.J. and Sanchez, Alexander, Platform Procedure: Using Technology to Facilitate (Efficient) Civil Settlement (December 2019). Selection and Decision in Judicial Process around the World: Empirical Inquiries (Yun-chien Chang, ed.) (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2020), pp. 30–72, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3607528

J.J. Prescott (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

3170 South Hall
701 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
734-763-2326 (Phone)

Alexander Sanchez

Franklin County Municipal Court, Columbus, Ohio ( email )

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