Digital dispute resolution
Course infoSchedule
Credits (ECTS)7
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Law; Burgerlijk recht;
PreviousNext 2
prof. mr. S.E. Bartels
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. mr. A.U. Janssen
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
M.M. Koopman
Other course modules lecturer
mr. E.E.E. Marique
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. P. Ortolani
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2022
MSEM2  (30/01/2023 to 31/08/2023)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesNo
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
Technology is changing the way in which we resolve disputes. National courts increasingly adopt digital tools, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures, such as arbitration and mediation, are also being digitized. In addition, technological globalization fosters the emergence of new paradigms of online dispute resolution (ODR): from social media content moderation to e-commerce dispute management, from domain-name adjudication to smart dispute resolution based on blockchain technologies, a new range of dispute resolution techniques is emerging. After successfully completing the course, students will be able to:
  1. understand the relationship between technology and dispute resolution, with reference to the needs and expectations of the parties, lawyers, judges and other stakeholders;
  2. explain how technology is currently being used in different forms of dispute resolution, and how this affects legal practice;
  3. explain how law can be used to manage and resolve different types of technology-related disputes;
  4. conduct independent research and apply the general notions covered during the course to the students’ home legal system.
  5. debate the topics of the course with fellow students, gaining a comparative understanding of the subject-matter.
The course will help the students develop the following skills:
  1. independent research on dispute resolution, with specific reference to the current status of the use of technology in different dispute resolution fora, and the prospects for future modernization and harmonization;
  2. organization of the information gathered through independent research, for the purposes of oral and written presentation;
  3. oral presentation of the same information to an English-language audience;
  4. Structuring and drafting of a legal essay;
  5. English legal writing.
The course covers three main aspects of digital dispute resolution: the relationship between technology and court procedures; the impact of technology on traditional ADR; the emergence of new ODR models. For each of these areas, the students will be asked to conduct independent research, and give presentations in class, applying the general notions presented during the lectures to the specific reality of their home jurisdiction.

This type of master course, where the students are required to do background comparative research before each lecture, has already proven successful in other courses in the International and European Law Master (Business Law track), such as Principles of Finance and Secured Transactions. The course is open both to LLM students, and to exchange students who are enrolled during the period in which the course takes place. Because the course is taught in the English language, it is likely to attract a good amount of international students, next to Dutch students, thus facilitating the comparative dimension. However, even if only Dutch students were to enrol (which is unlikely, considering the past experiences with courses such as the aforementioned International Arbitration, or Principles of Finance and Secured Transactions), comparative analysis and discussions would still be possible, given the wide availability of comparative literature in the English language on the topic of digital dispute resolution.

Each lecture will begin with an explanation by one of the teachers, of approximately one hour. Afterwards, a group of students will deliver a presentation, for approximately 30 minutes.
Lecture 1: Introduction: Three paths to digital dispute resolution
Lecture 2: Technology and court procedures: digitalization of civil and commercial procedures, and its effects on due process and fundamental rights
Lecture 3: Technology and court procedures: territorial jurisdiction and the Internet
Lecture 4: Technology and court procedures: the rise of international commercial courts, and digitalization
Lecture 5: Technology and arbitration: from a digital agreement to arbitrate to the digital award and its enforcement
Lecture 6: Domain-name dispute resolution and the ICANN UDRP
Lecture 7: Online content moderation as dispute resolution: the Oversight Board, and private ordering solutions
Lecture 8: Online content moderation as dispute resolution: the Digital Services Act and beyond
Lecture 9: E-Commerce dispute resolution: platform-based mechanisms
Lecture 10: E-Commerce dispute resolution: private (non platform-based) ODR and State-sponsored ODR
Lecture 11: Blockchain, smart contracts and dispute resolution
Lecture 12: Conclusion: Where do the three paths lead? Technology and access to justice – the state of play
Presumed foreknowledge
DUTCH STUDENTS: Bachelor degree in (Private) Law, including the courses Burgerlijk recht I en -II and Burgerlijk procesrecht.
FOREIGN STUDENTS: Knowledge of at least one national system of procedural law.
Test information
Every student has to give a presentation in class, and write an essay. The grade for the presentation will be a pass/fail mark. The grade for the essay counts towards 50% of the final grade. The final exam will be written, and count towards the remaining 50% of the final grade.
Please note: if you are following the Master after having completed the pre-master (after HBO Law), you can only take this course as an extra-curricular course. Therefore this course does not count towards the obligatory 42 EC of Master courses.

Coordinator: Pietro Ortolani (pietro.ortolani@ru.nl)
Secretary: Marianne Koopman (marianne.koopman@ru.nl)
Instructional modes
Type of instructional modeLecture

Type of instructional modeWeblecture

Test weight50
Test typeDigital exam with CIRRUS
OpportunitiesBlock MSEM2, Block MSEM2

Test weight50
Test typeEssay
OpportunitiesBlock MSEM2

Test weight0
Test typePresentation
OpportunitiesBlock MSEM2