Pablo Cortés

  • 9 May 2017
  • 5.30pm-6.30pm
  • Ken Edwards Building, Lecture Theatre 1

Civil Justice Reform and the Changing Nature of Dispute Resolution

In this Inaugural Lecture Professor Cortés will tackle changes in the field of civil justice, posing the question of whether technology and extrajudicial processes (that is, out-of-court processes such as mediation, arbitration and ombudsman systems) can provide a solution to the access to justice problem for low-value claims. He will discuss his experience conducting research on consumer dispute resolution noting the need for efficient processes based on a wider concept of access to justice.

Professor Cortés will argue that these increasingly publicly certified extrajudicial bodies are more than mere dispute resolution mechanisms since they provide a public service for consumers that complements, and often replaces, the role of the courts. Furthermore, he will note that while courts use extrajudicial techniques, and consumer dispute resolution bodies often rely on binding adjudication as a last resort, there is not enough co-operation between extrajudicial bodies and the courts. Professor Cortes will draw from his on-going research to argue for greater integration amongst courts and extrajudicial bodies, which are currently undergoing an institutionalisation process as a result of recent EU legislation.

Moreover, he will argue that access to justice for consumers can only be achieved if they either have access to accountable and effective extrajudicial schemes, or to a much-improved online court that incorporates extrajudicial techniques as the UK government has recently endeavoured to deliver. Finally, Professor Cortés will conclude by outlining his next research project where he will examine the forthcoming online court and its interaction with extrajudicial bodies.

Professor Pablo Cortés, Chair in Civil Justice

Pablo 200x266.jpgProfessor Cortés teaches and conducts research in the field of dispute resolution, civil procedure and consumer law. He has written three books and over fifty academic articles and book chapters. He has been invited to speak at international conferences in over a dozen countries, to participate at various expert meetings (including by the UN and the European Commission), to write various reports, and to speak at public hearings by the European Parliament.

He is a fellow of the National Centre for Technology and Dispute Resolutions based at University of Massachusetts, and in 2012 he was a Research Fellow at Stanford University. He is a member of the Online Dispute Resolution Advisory Group of the Civil Justice Council, which first proposed the launch of the Online Court in England and Wales. He has been employed as a consultant for several organisations, including by the European Commission to assist them in the drafting of legislation that improved the redress options of all European consumers. 

Professor Cortés has recently completed two substantial research projects. The first one was awarded by the European Commission as part of a consortium of universities led by Salamanca, with the task of proposing legislative action to promote online mediation for cross-border disputes. The second grant was awarded by the Nuffield Foundation to evaluate from a socio-legal perspective the transformation of consumer dispute resolution schemes in the EU. His most recent research findings appeared last December in an edited collection that he coordinated: The New Regulatory Framework for Consumer Dispute Resolution (Oxford University Press, 2016) and in his new book, which is expected to be published in October with a foreword by the Lord Chief Justice: The Law of Consumer Redress in an Evolving Digital Market (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

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