Let me introduce myself................
"See You Out of Court!"
My name is Graham Ross. I am an accredited business mediator and negotiator specialising in the art of negotiating solutions as opposed to burning money through the courts. I am a recognised expert in the fast developing field of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) which exploits the power of technology to facilitate resolution.
I was trained in commercial mediation by the ADR Group. I am a panel member of the Association of Northern Mediators and of Promediate as well as being a registered mediator with The Civil Mediation Council. I am also a member of The Ombudsman's Association. I am a Fellow of the National Center of Technology and Dispute Resolution (NCTDR) at the University of Massachusetts. I am also a member of the 12 strong ODR Advisory Group appointed by the Civil Justice Council (CJC) to advise the UK's Ministry of Justice on the role of ODR in a modernised civil justice system. Our Report was published in February 2015 (see here) . The Report by Lord Justice Briggs into the future structure of the court system recommended our proposal in the CJC Report for an online court offering ODR solutions be actioned. The first online court has now opened and in public Beta testing for civil money claims.
A little bit of history was made in February 2019 when I helped parties to a dispute running through the then newly established online civil money court was settled within an hour using Artificial Intelligence. See this news article and , for more details, an article I wrote for the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers.
I am a member of the Civil Justice Council's 6 person ADR Working Group tasked to advise on how to increase use of Alternative Dispute Resolution, and in particular mediation (see our Final 2018 Report here). My blog listing the ODR references in that Report can be read here. I have been an expert advisor to The All Party Parliamentary Group on Alternative Dispute Resolution.
In 2014, I was invited to advise in meeting the Committee of Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Council of Europe on the impact of ODR on access to justice and human rights. The Committee produced a draft Resolution, since adopted by the Council, which calls on all 47 member States to promote the development and use of Online Dispute Resolution. In February 2016, I was invited to be an advisor to an EU funded research project led by the Faculty of Law at Salamanca University in Spain to consider the role of online mediation in cross-border disputes.
As well as my private practice as a business mediator and negotiator, I have been Head of the European Advisory Board for a Silicon Valley spin-off from eBay and PayPal called Modria Inc (www.modria.com) the global leader in applying online technology to all forms of resolving complaints and disputes. The Modria team, now spread across offices in the USA, UK and India, and part of Tyler Technologies , designed, built and ran the dispute resolution systems pioneered by eBay and PayPal and which have been used in resolving over 60 million disputes. Their technology is behind the platform for 100,000s of local taxation disputes for various county governments throughout the United States.
I have been an innovator in the field of mediation, developing two areas of novel specialism being disputes between shareholders in private companies leading to stalemate situations (see www.BoardroomResolve.com) and mediating online .
The significance of ODR in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), which includes arbitration and mediation, has been reinforced by the European Commission which has passed a Regulation on ODR, and a Directive on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) requiring ADR companies throughout Europe to provide ODR facilities for consumer claims.
I co-founded the UK's first ODR service, a blind bidding service called We Can Settle in 2001, and subsequently the online mediation service The Mediation Room, which was launched by Lord Woolf , former Lord Chief Justice,, at the Law Society and on which platform trials have been conducted for PayPal, the UK Small Claims Court, the Law Council of Australia and other organisations.
I was a member of the Working Party of the European Committee on Standardisation (CEN) which developed a Workshop Agreement on standards for Online Dispute Resolution and am currently a member of the EU funded EMCOD project (www.emcod.net) led by the University of Tilburg and which has developed an online tool for the measurement of justice through ODR.
I was the co-author of the European chapter in “Online Dispute Resolution: Theory and Practice” and which was published in 2010 (Eleven Publishing - ISB 9490947253), which described as "a state-of-the-art overview and assessment of the status quo and future of the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) field."
I speak regularly at international conferences on the impact of the law on the Internet and e-commerce and on technology in the judiciary and Alternative Dispute Resolution. I have been presenting regularly at conferences on ODR since 2002 when the now annual International Forum on Online Dispute Resolution was first launched at the Palais Des Nations in Geneva by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. The Forum, which has travelled around five continents, was hosted by myself in 2007 at the University of Liverpool. I have presented at events in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria , Poland, Azerbaijan, where I chaired the workshop on ODR at the Internet Governance Forum, France, Argentina, USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Croatia and other places. In 2012 I was invited by the European Commission to attend an expert group round table in Brussels on introducing a new European Law on Alternative Dispute Resolution and ODR for Business to Business disputes across Europe.
In 2012 I was invited to join a working party set up by the UK Ministry of Justice to create a Business Dispute Resolution Commitment to encourage less recourse to the courts.
I developed the leading training course in applying technology to ADR and, as such, has trained mediators from over 20 countries as well as developing and delivering a course for the Milan Chamber of Arbitration and for the UK Ministry of Justice. I have been invited to advise court services in the UK , Canada and Bulgaria on applying technology tools to improve ADR.
I was the founder of LAWTEL the online legal information update service now owned and operated by ThomsonReuters.
As a mediator I have developed novel techniques within the field of Interest-Based Mediation which operates beyond the traditional areas of compromise by helping each party to the dispute to consider interests they may have that, whilst peripheral to the main issue, can be affected adversely as a consequence of the dispute not being resolved, no matter what the outcome of the litigation. By focusing on identifying all interests, including those not obviously linked, that may be impacted by the continuation of the dispute and examining in detail the potential damage each side may suffer on the absence of agreement, the parties themselves then begin to express their own desire to resolve the matter between themselves. In other words, he works to bring the parties to the point where it is they, the parties in dispute, who begin to press for settlement, not the mediator seeking to coax them into it.
My casework experience as a mediator includes:- Shareholder disputes, business acquisition disputes, IT development disputes, book copywriting disputes, consumer disputes and franchising disputes.