International Centre for Appropriate Dispute Resolution & Prevention

Devising system designs

Dispute System Design (DSD) is the process of identifying, designing, employing, and evaluating an effective means of resolving conflicts within an organization. In order to be truly effective, dispute systems must be thoroughly thought out and carefully constructed.

ICADRP can help the governments design systems for preventing, managing, and resolving conflicts that support or supplant existing legal structures. Pakistan needs a reform to its arbitration system. Increasingly these systems utilize technology to improve efficiency, accessibility, and transparency for disputants. We apply an analytic framework (including stakeholder assessment and conflict resolution process options) to understand different kinds of dispute systems. We also examine the growing use of online dispute resolution (ODR), the new challenges it poses to neutrals and system designers, and evolving best practices for the use of technology in dispute system design.

First, we diagnose dispute symptoms by examining several key factors such as the types of disputes the government is dealing with, who is involved, how disputes are currently handled, and the role power plays in the resolution of current conflicts.

Next, we apply the principles of DSD with the primary goal of minimizing cost and emphasizing less invasive approaches before exploring other methods. The new procedures should be built upon a process that emphasizes concern for shared interests. Successful dispute systems address the incentives, motivations, talents, and assets of those who will use it.

Third, assist in implementing new dispute system, a negotiation in and of itself. Initially, one must ensure that relevant stakeholders are on board. Inviting them to elect representatives for a design committee whose primary responsibility is to research the motivations of members and to create a system that will please everyone is an excellent way to ensure buy-in.

Finally,  evaluate the new dispute system design keeping in view are those in conflict more satisfied with the conclusion than they were in the past? Has the reappearance of disputes diminished? Are relationships better among stakeholders?