The Prospect of Online Dispute Resolution for Family Matters in Bangladesh


By Anika Nower Shuvra

Online dispute resolution means utilizing software and apps in resolving disputes among parties. Online methods help the working people to resolve the family dispute very cogently. During the covid-19, family disputes were increased especially divorce in Bangladesh. Most of the divorce-seeking couples are young. Because of their tender age, they are not aware of their responsibilities after marriage. So they seek the shelter of divorce soon after their marriage.

The intervention of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) makes it possible to provide family disputes settlement services to parties in a geographically remote area. The process of divorce involves written correspondence and costly litigation which also includes the cost in terms of time, travel, and accommodation. Thus, ODR provides an opportunity to conduct and manage communication in a less threatening situation. In addition, it offers contact and communication in a neutral setting. Moreover, prompt and virtually immediate delivery of progress and agreements made during the resolution process can be considered as boon for both parties.

So, it can be said that online family dispute resolutions (ODR) are vastly better than ADR when it is coming to family matters. Offline mediators or arbitrators are trained to help the people tell their stories and to manage the conversational process of mediation or arbitration sessions. The compliance of ADR in family issues is mandated in the family courts ordinance, 1985.In sections 10, 13, and 23, the provisions of pre-trial conciliations, pre-judgment conciliations, and post judgment arbitration were embodied. And, the arbitrators are trained to remain impartial, summarize and reframe the disputed issues in a tactful way.

But the emerging ODR requires sufficient training for arbitrators and mediators. Because it is a new platform for family disputes resolutions. The well-training agency should be ensured for operating the family disputes settlements smoothly to ensure people’s access to informal justice.

The majority of families experience three major concerns when faced with marriage conflicts and marriage dissolution, namely, a parenting crisis, economic crisis, and emotional crisis. If the marriage has resulted in any children, then the children are subjected to drastic emotional mayhem due to family disintegration which results in a significant parenting crisis and they can have emotional consequences lasting for decades. Personal family disputes cannot be stopped overnight, but we can resort to new technological means and methods to establish a smooth dispute settlement process.

Anika Nower Shuvra is a student of LLB program at Department of Law and Human Rights, University of Asia Pacific.