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Speaker 1:  Mr. Pranjal Sinha is an alumnus of West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences. He was a student of JAMS. Currently, he is the CEO, Co-Founder and Chief Coordinator of SAMA, an online ODR platform.

Speaker 2: Ms. Akshetha Ashok is an alumnus of West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences. She was the Chief Coordinator of Indian Mediation Week. She has achieved ‘Best Student Award’ at the International Conclave on Conflict Resolution held in August 2018 at Kolkata. Currently, she is the CLO and Co-Founder of SAMA, an online ODR platform.

The Moderator: Ms Sammanika Rawat is an alumnus of West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences. She is an Internationally Accredited Civil Commercial Mediator. She has previously worked as a Legal Associate at HSA Advocates. Currently, she is the head of Placements and Career Coach at Lawsikho.

What is an Alternative Dispute Resolution Case Manager?

An ADR Case Manager is a bridge between all the stakeholders of a dispute. It involves both the parties, neutrals, arbitrators or mediators.

What is a SAMA ADR Case Manager Assistant Neutral?

SAMA ADR Case Manager Assistant Neutral is a platform which shadows an arbitrator or mediator. The platform provides administrative support in the conduct of ADR process. Moreover, SAMA is an Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) facilitating platform.

Why do we need a case manager for ADR?

Having a case manager is more beneficial in ADR. It makes the process of ADR faster. To have a Case Manager means:

  • Ensuring the neutrality to the parties involved in the dispute.
  • Gaining trust from the parties.
  • Case manager gives us first-hand experience in dispute resolution mechanisms.
  • Ability to work on different case perspectives as each case will be different from the other.
  • To know the strength of you and your case.
  • Opportunity to shadow works a mediation process.
  • Ability to debrief your case.
  • To have feedback for you from the Mediators.
  • To conduct ADR under different languages.
  • To properly schedule the cases.

What are the qualities of a good assistant neutral?

An Assistant Neutral needs to have some key skills for a successful journey in the career of ODR. Some of them are:

  • Ability to ensure neutrality to your case or for both the parties.
  • Ability to give autonomy to the parties.
  • To maintain confidentiality and to oblige into legal procedures upon its failures.
  • To have prompt scheduling.
  • To have a strong relationship or partnership with Dispute Resolution Professional (DRP).
  • Ability to prompt the schedules.
  • To be a good tech-savvy.
  • Be completely aware of cases.
  • Ability to keep documents in the proper place before the process of ADR takes place.
  • Allowing the clients or parties to tell the DRP Review Committee that the process of ADR is unfairly conducted.

What are the steps to become a case manager or Assistant Neutral in the SAMA platform?

The steps to becoming a Case Manager or Assistant Neutral on SAMA Platform are:

  • Go to the SAMA Portal.
  • Sign up on the SAMA portal.
  • Do 10 cases as an assistant to mediator or arbitrator if you do not have 5 years of experience in the field of ADR.
  • Do 3 cases as an assistant to mediator or arbitrator if you have ADR experience of above 5 years.
  • After fulfilling the above criteria, you will be promoted to a fully-fledged neutral along with the feedback from the dispute resolution professional. A settlement rate will be fixed for you after the review from the customers.

Whether the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 applies to an ODR?

An ODR is governed by the clauses of Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. It is not free to form the applicable laws in India.

What kind of cases does SAMA primarily take up?

SAMA is an online ODR platform. It takes up every kind of cases that comes to them. The primary kind of cases that SAMA get is banking and e-commerce disputes. But the platform is not limited to it. It also takes up disputes related to renting, family matters, etc.

What is the structure of fees that are paid to the users of the SAMA Platform?

The fees that SAMA pays varies from case to case. Normally, a case manager is not paid initially. They get paid after doing 10 cases as a shadow worker under a mediator or arbitrator.

Is the 40-hour clause mandatory for a person to involve or work for ADR?

No. The 40-hour clause is not mandatory. It is a guideline issued way back in 2004. Having such an hour of training is recommended but not need to be compulsorily attended. However, to become a mediator or an arbitrator, a person needs to be trained under selected schools in the relevant field of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

What are the benefits that a case manager will get?

The benefits that a Case Manager will get in an ODR platform are:

  • To have a chance to resolve disputes in the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform.
  • To work as a shadow to neutrals.
  • To earn some kind of money after the initial training.
  • To gain knowledge in online dispute resolution mechanism.

What is the monetary value of disputes in the ODR platform of SAMA?

The monetary value in each dispute varies accordingly. The minimum amount of monetary value is Rs. 10,000. The maximum amount that SAMA gives as monetary value is Rs. 20 lakhs.

What are some of the rules that a case manager needs to know?

A Case Manager needs to know different rulings applicable in India. He or she must be well aware of the procedures. Some of the key skills that he or she requires are:

  • To have an understanding of Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.
  • To learn the basic principles of Alternative Dispute Resolution.
  • To learn the basics of Online Dispute Resolution mechanism.

Is there any difference between mediation and arbitration?

Mediation and Arbitration are both different terms. Arbitration proceedings are straight forward while Mediation is very persuasive. The advantage of Arbitration is that the Arbitration can be converted into Mediation with the consent of both the parties.

How convenient is the SAMA platform for fresh graduates?

SAMA platform is the most efficient one for every fresh graduate and young lawyers. They can use the platform to become a fully accredited mediator or arbitrator after working as a shadow to the neutrals, mediator or arbitrator.

How does the SAMA platform connect parties?

SAMA connects the parties through the use of the digital mechanism. The platform does not use any other outside methods of connections like zoom or google meet. The platform has an in-house video conferencing system as well as a chat facility to connect with the parties.

Are neutrals part of drafting in a case?

A neutral has the full freedom to get a call with the mediator, arbitrator, etc. Sometimes, the platform does allow the Neutrals to be a part of drafting for a particular case.

What is the time limit for each case in SAMA Platform?

The best advantage of an ODR or ADR mechanism is that it is time-consuming. SAMA allows 30 days for settling the matters through conciliation and 90 days for settling the matters through arbitration. Also, courts in India nowadays recognized the usage and importance of ADR or ODR in resolving the disputes without a long period of waiting time.

What is the scope of criminal cases in ODR?

ODR is a mechanism not suitable for criminal cases except in issues related to banking. However, nowadays courts encourage the process of ADR and especially in family matters or cases.

Are the ODR proceedings under SAMA platform done in the English language?

English is the most preferred language for an Online Dispute Resolution mechanism. SAMA uses the English language as well as various other languages. Most of the time, parties chose their comfort level of language as a medium of communication to resolve the disputes.

Can a law student become a case manager?

Yes. A law student can become a Case Manager subject to certain prerequisites. Such a student needs to spend at least a few hours on the platform to assist the neutrals and other professionals. He or she may get work according to the demand of cases each month.

Does SAMA conduct online Lok Adalat?

Yes. SAMA often conducts online Lok Adalat with the Legal Service Authorities of various states. Recently, the platform conducted an online Lok Adalat for the state of Rajasthan which was done with the help of Rajasthan Legal Services Authority.

Will there be an increase in cases post-COVID-19?

There is a high chance of an increase in cases post-COVID-19. The economy is in downfall due to the pandemic. New cases related to renting default, non-repayment of loans may take place. Families may be broken. The advantage of having an ADR or ODR facility in India will help us to resolve the disputes in faster ways. Hence, there is a huge scope in ADR or ODR post-COVID-19.

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