Virtual artefacts to support negotiation within an augmented collaborative environment for alternate dispute resolution
Commercial organisations that are in dispute will sometimes seek to settle their differences without resorting to legal proceedings through a process of structured and facilitated negotiation called Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR). Traditionally ADR negotiations are conducted by co-locating the mediator, witnesses, supporting evidence and representatives of each party. This paper describes a novel experiment that has been conducted at the University of Leeds to investigate whether an augmented collaborative environment could provide a realistic alternative to co-locating individuals for ADR negotiations. The individuals that took part in the experiment included an experienced mediator and practising legal representatives. The augmented collaborative environment was based on a video conferencing system that was enhanced to enable virtual artefacts representing items of evidence to be blended directly into the video streams. This experiment sits within the framework of the Court 21 Project, that is seeking to identify how new technology can be used to improve the different aspects of the legal system .