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The Discourses of Dispute Resolution

Series:

Vijay K. Bhatia, Christopher N. Candlin and Maurizio Gotti

This volume presents some of the findings from a project on various aspects of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), including conciliation, mediation, and arbitration. To study the discursive practices of ADR today, an international initiative has been undertaken by a group of specialists in discourse analysis, law, and arbitration from more than twenty countries. The chapters in this volume draw on discourse-based data (narrative, documentary and interactional) to investigate the extent to which the ‘integrity’ of ADR principles is maintained in practice, and to what extent there is an increasing level of influence from litigative processes and procedures. The primary evidence for such practices comes from textual and discourse-based studies, ethnographic observations, and narratives of experience on the part of experts in the field, as well as on the part of some of the major corporate stakeholders drawn from commercial sectors.

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GIULIANA GARZONE Promoting Arbitration and Mediation on the Web 23

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GIULIANA GARZONE Promoting Arbitration and Mediation on the Web 1. Introduction In the last few years, as recourse to arbitration to settle disputes has become ever more frequent, there has been an increase in the amount of informative material about arbitration and other forms of ADR made available by arbitral institutions around the world to inform/ persuade potential clients of the advantages of these kinds of dispute resolution over litigation. This form of communication was originally effected by means of brochures, with very limited circulation, reach- ing only those who were already interested and aware of the options. Only relatively recently, thanks to the increasing importance of the Web as a medium, has it taken the form of a real information effort addressed to an ever wider audience. The different semiotic configuration of the institutions’ infor- mative materials due to the shift to a web-based Hypermedia Com- puter Mediated Environment (HCME: Hoffman/Novak 1996) and to the extension of the audience addressed has involved the revision of the materials used for communication (texts and graphics), if not the drafting of totally new materials to meet the requirements of Web de- sign. Through their websites, arbitration institutions present them- selves and the services they offer to a potentially global audience, although of course their target addressees belong to limited interest groups, essentially businesses – from the sole trader to multinational corporations – and public and private organizations. In consequence, the analysis of the discourses they deploy on their websites can help shed light not...

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