Utah online dispute resolution system

Released: September 2018

Utah's online dispute resolution (ODR) system is a web-based tool available to litigants who have small claims disputes that involve USD 11,000 or less. 

Released in 2018, Utah's ODR system was designed to provide 'simple, quick, inexpensive and easily accessible justice' that includes 'individualized assistance and information that is accessible across a multitude of electronic platforms.'

Utah ODR

System databank

Operator: West Valley City Justice Court; Orem City Justice Court
Developer: Utah Administrative Office of the Courts
Country: USA
Sector: Govt - justice
Purpose: Resolve disputes
Issue: Fairness
Transparency: Governance; Black box; Marketing


A 2020 evaluation of Utah's ODR platform usability by the Innovation for Justice program at the University of Arizona concluded it had major design problems, with most users reporting 'frustration on account of their inability to easily find information about ODR, including guidance about how it worked, whether participation was mandatory, and how to contact someone for more assistance.'

According to report, statistics show that only about 36% of defendants in small claims cases actually log into the system, and those that do frequently require technical support. At the same time, the researchers found that participants in the study were receptive to the idea of an online platform for handling small claims cases. 

The authors recommended that Utah streamline its registration process, make document sharing easier, and provide more guidance to users trying to navigate the system in order to make the ODR program more accessible to Utahans facing small claims suits.

Payday lenders benefit 

In March 2022, an investigation by The Mark-up concluded that Utah's ODR benefits large payday lenders instead of making the courts more accessible to low-income litigants - the people it was meant to help - with default judgments (court rulings in favour of one party because the other failed to respond) increasing under the system.

Worse, the investigation found that 'the move to online dispute resolution has had severe consequences for many of the Utahans it was supposed to help and that the state’s courts have been slow to implement potential fixes.'

Investigations, assessments, audits

Page info
Type: System
Published: February 2023