Romain Dupeyré is a lawyer registered under the Paris and New York bars.
Romain Dupeyré, a French lawyer from DWF, is giving us his opinion on eJustice and his experience as an arbitrator to have a better understanding of these new online dispute resolution mechanisms.
This new way of accessing justice offers interesting perspectives. In practice, resorting to platforms to solve disputes remains exceptional, compared to state justice.
One of the advantages of eJustice is that is allows users to benefit from a flexibility, inherent to the digital tool, that traditional justice cannot always offer. We notably see many requests in the context of disputes relating to insurance, transports or the hotel industry. eJustice has a lighter procedural structure notably through digital exchanges and a faster review of the facts for a fair, equitable and efficient resolution.
eJustice also democratises arbitration. With online arbitration, individuals and companies benefit from a decision rendered more quickly that has the legal authority of an award, in terms of definitiveness and enforceability. Traditional arbitration will be preferred for high-stake disputes that involve several arbitrators.
Thus, we must take charge of eJustice that can be adapted to each type of needs. Moreover, the Act on Justice Programming (“loi de programmation de la Justice »), currently before the Constitutional Council, will encourage alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
My professional experience has not led me to use an online arbitration platform yet, but I have had the opportunity to discover eJust, an ergonomic, well-conceived and easy to use tool that complies with all the great arbitration principles (transparency, impartiality, right to be heard).
There is always a latency period between the moment a party inserts an online arbitration clause in a contract and the moment a lawyer is called.
I have presented this online solution to a client, a major French engineering company, to facilitate the management of simple claims that can be directly addressed at the client’s. We must be pedagogical with our clients so that they understand the value of this solution.
Even though it is easy to use and intuitive, online dispute resolution digital tools require a solid prior training, especially in light of the stakes for the company, our client, notably with regards to its economic environment.
I would also like to come back on the Act on Justice Programming that contains two important provisions applicable to platforms:
– The recognition of the transparency principle when it comes to algorithms, i.e., the user must be clearly informed and be aware of the fundamentals behind the algorithm. This does not apply to eJust but the topic is at the heart of many debates;
– The possibility for platforms to request a certification, testament to their quality (confidentiality, financial solidity, personal data management, etc.).
This does not constitute an obligation, since arbitrators and mediators need not be licensed. However, I think we must encourage individuals, companies and in-house counsels, to resort to certified companies. The criteria will notably pertain to the appointment of arbitrators and the technology adopted to secure the various exchanges.
Romain Dupeyré is a lawyer registered under the Paris and New York bars. He is a partner at DWF in Paris where he heads the dispute resolution department. He is also the preferred contact in Paris for all the firm’s “Connected Services”. Romain is the President of the College of Lawyers Specialised in Arbitration and co-authored the “Rules and practice under French arbitration law” (“Règles et pratiques du droit français de l’arbitrage” (Lextenso)).