Exploring the potential for online dispute resolution

Katarina Palmgren

Court Legal Advisor, Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, Melbourne, VIC

In recent years we have witnessed an increased interest in online dispute resolution (ODR) amongst courts, tribunals and public justice systems around the world. The aim of integrating ODR in the public justice system is to increase access to the court system by providing a modern, simple, efficient, user-friendly and accessible online forum in which the public can resolve their disputes.

The potential of ODR when integrated in the public justice system is showcased in Canada where the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) sits as the first fully integrated online tribunal in the world. In the United Kingdom, a proposal for an ODR system fully integrated in the court system has been accepted by the government and, if implemented, will constitute the first fully integrated online court in the world. The online models developed in Canada and the United Kingdom, although not identical, have strong similarities and share the same objective, namely, to put the court user in focus and flip the traditional court model, creating a justice model that focusses on early and collaborative dispute resolution.

This presentation will examine these ODR models and some of the legal, technical and operational aspects that would need careful consideration should the decision be made to establish an online court in Australia.


Katarina Palmgren is a Court Legal Advisor at the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. Prior to her role at the Magistrates’ Court, Katarina was a Senior Associate at the Supreme Court of Victoria and worked as a legal advisor to the judiciary at the International Criminal Court, the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

In 2017, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust awarded Katarina a fellowship to explore the use of online dispute resolution to resolve small civil disputes and how to best integrate an online court in Victoria. Katarina’s Churchill Fellowship Report was published in November 2018.

Katarina has a BA and LLB from the University of Western Australia and has undertaken Masters studies at Harvard University.


The COAT is intended to facilitate liaison and discussion between the heads of tribunals. It will support the development of best practice models and model procedural rules, standards of behaviour and conduct for members and increased capacity for training and support for members.