SmartResolution was born out of a dissertation project by Chris Ashton, in conjunction with Aberystwyth University. The motivation for building an ODR platform was as follows.
When it comes to resolving disputes, many people are increasingly turning to online dispute resolution (ODR) platforms as an alternative to taking the case to court, settling disputes more quickly, conveniently, and at a lower cost. These platforms already exist; they allow lawyers to open disputes on behalf of their clients, upload documents and type content in a structured manner, and hopefully reach an amicable resolution. However, there is no business logic that helps influence the outcome of a dispute. Resolution is a manual process performed by the lawyers.
SmartResolution introduces that business logic in an abstract way by way of modules, so that a module containing the business logic for a specific area of law can be plugged into the system. Modules can ask relevant, structured questions, interpret the answers by both parties and play out a "court simulation" indicating the outcome of the case should the dispute be taken to court.
In order to develop this modular ODR framework, the SmartResolution platform had to be built from scratch, since all existing ODR platforms were proprietary. Over the course of the dissertation, the functionality and robustness of the core SmartResolution platform became the main focus and the original idea for the maritime collision module had to be scaled back. The result is an enterprise-level ODR platform capable of supporting all manner of modules, bundled with semi-advanced prototype of a maritime collision module.