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First online dispute to be settled by an algorithm?

shawn mach

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Joined: 14 April 2010

From the Law Society Gazette - 

A lawyer and mediator claims to have facilitated the first online dispute settled by computer algorithm in a public court in England and Wales. Graham Ross said the web tool SmartsettleONE resolved a case last week in the new Online Civil Money Claims Court.

The dispute over unpaid fees for a counselling course, estimated at £2,000, had been in the court process for three months, following an unsuccessful telephone mediation. Ross said the parties had settled within an hour of the first use of the tool.

The blind-bid system works by enabling parties to make offers and counter-offers, placing a flag along a slider any number of times until a resolution is reached. Algorithms learn the bidding tactics and priorities of both parties and help ‘nudge’ them into an agreed settlement without revealing the secret bids. The settlement figure will be within the range of each party but the system will reward the party who makes more effort to settle.