Answer One

What is ODR?

Online Dispute Resolution is a voluntary confidential process through which people with a dispute communicate online to resolve a conflict. They may request a trained, impartial third person called a neutral ODR Facilitator. The facilitator can help the parties to define issues, explore options, and reach a solution that both parties are willing to accept.

Answer two
  • ODR is not a court hearing.
  • ODR is not a process to determine guilt or innocence.

With ODR, individuals have the power to develop solutions that meet the expectations and needs of both parties.

Answer Three

Is ODR confidential?

Yes. When each party creates an account, they agree that all communication through the site is confidential. Also, communication during dispute resolution such as ODR is protected as confidential by the law.

What does the neutral ODR Facilitator do?

Answer Four

The neutral ODR Facilitator is a highly skilled person who assists both disputing parties to resolve their differences. The facilitator will consider both sides of the story and ask questions about what happened in order to get the facts. The facilitator’s goal is to help all parties with finding a solution to their problem. Neutral ODR Facilitators do not take sides and will not give legal advice. The facilitator does not make decisions for the disputing parties. The facilitator may offer suggestions, options, choices and alternatives but will not Answer Fivegive his or her personal opinions. The facilitator acts as a catalyst, enabling agreement between the parties and assisting in developing a mutually acceptable written agreement specifically outlining the terms of the resolution. Because all decisions are made by the participants, the parties retain ultimate control of the outcome.

When are ODR Facilitators available?

ODR Facilitators are available Monday-Friday, 8:00am- 5:00pm. However, you can use your case negotiation page to communicate with your ODR Facilitator at any time.

What is the ODR process?

  1. Create an account. You can create a free, secure account from any online device to get started. You will need to provide email addresses for both parties and enter the details of your case. If you do not know the email address of the party, go to Small Claims Resources.
  2. Invite the other party to negotiate. We will invite the other party to create an account and negotiate with you.
  3. Negotiate online. If the other party accepts the invitation and creates an account, you can use your account to send messages and upload evidence.
  4. Ask for an ODR Facilitator. You can ask for a neutral ODR Facilitator (limited number available) to help you reach an agreement. The facilitator guides the discussion and can help both parties clearly describe the issues, explore options, and reach a solution that both parties are willing to accept.
  5. E-file your form. Once the parties reach an agreement, you can prepare your legal settlement or dismissal form to be e-filed with the court. A court rule requires that the settlement form be printed and signed by both parties before you submit your e-filing. You must submit your e-filing at least 10 days before Answer Sixyour hearing to have time to e-file. If your e-filing is not accepted before your hearing, you must attend your hearing. Bring your settlement or dismissal form and your evidence with you.
  6. Fill out the survey. This is a pilot program so we need your feedback to evaluate and improve our services. To help us improve our site, please fill out the survey we will email you. We value your feedback.

Does ODR work?

Answer Seven

ODR is a type of alternative dispute resolution. Alternative dispute resolution is uniquely designed to handle most civil disputes. It recognizes people as individuals and that every dispute brings unique characteristics and concerns. The flexibility of the process allows both parties to explore all of the issues, including underlying sources of conflict, complex issues, or issues where there is a high level of emotion attached. Alternative dispute resolution allows parties to consider a wider range of possible outcomes than is often available through other legal processes. Any solution is possible with alternative dispute resolution. Performance under Answer Eightalternative dispute resolution agreements is generally high because no agreement is written unless the parties agree that the solutions are viable for everyone.

May I have witnesses, attorneys or other third parties participate?

The parties agree when they create an account that all communication through the site is confidential. Only the parties may participate.

What should I do before I start ODR?

  1. Before starting the Online Dispute Resolution process, think about possible compromises or solutions to the problems.
  2. Decide what you want from the other person and what you would be willing to give in return (mutual concessions).
  3. Begin the process fully prepared to resolve the conflict. ODR works when both parties participate in good faith to resolve the dispute.
  4. Decide to be calm and polite with the other party. It helps to be courteous when you want to reach an agreement with the other party.
  5. Answer NineExamine your own thoughts and emotions about the dispute. For example:
    1. What specifically concerns me about this conflict?
    2. How does this affect me?
    3. Why is this important to me?
    4. What values of mine are involved?
    5. Do I carry suspicions or assumptions about the other person? What are they?
    6. What would make the situation better for me?

How can I figure out the strengths and weaknesses of my case?

The more you learn about the law the more you can find the strengths and weaknesses of your own case. Choose a fact-sheet to learn more about these common types of Small Claims:

Answer Ten Answer Eleven

What if we don’t reach an agreement?

Answer Twelve

If you do not reach an agreement, then you need to attend your hearing. Bring all of your evidence with you. You can call the OC Small Claims Adviser for free help at (714) 571-5277 or online at

If we don’t reach an agreement, do I need to bring my evidence to the hearing?

Yes. When you upload evidence to this site it is only for communication with the other party. There is no way to submit your evidence to the court through this site. You must bring your evidence with you to the hearing.

What if the other party doesn’t follow through with the settlement agreement?

Answer Thirteen

If the other party doesn’t pay you, you can file the Declaration of Default (L-1152) to enter a judgment so that you can collect. You can type into the form and print it or print it and fill it out by hand. Be sure to sign and date the form. To file it, you can mail it to the court (if you have time) or bring it to the court. If you mail it, include the original plus two copies and a self-addressed and stamped envelope for the clerk to mail you back your filed copy. Call the OC Small Claims Adviser for free help at (714) 571-5277 or online at

What other resources can help me?

See our Small Claims Resources page.