• Serkan Kaya Law Faculty, Department of Civil Procedure, Enforcement and Bankruptcy Law, Boğaziçi University, 34342 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey.
  • Muhammad Danyal Khan University Gilani Law College, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Punjab, Pakistan.


Background and Purpose: In Pakistan, courts are still seen as the primary forum for resolving civil disputes. The large number of pending civil cases that require an unacceptable amount of time to achieve a final judgment is proof of this. Delays in the administration of justice and the length of trials are elements that have led to the development of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) approaches; at the same time, they are critical issues that need to be addressed in Pakistan and throughout the world. Many procedural reforms have been implemented to date, and the mechanism of consumer redress has improved. However, existing institutions are ineffective in resolving the vast majority of consumer disputes that arise from online transactions. The study aims at exploring the legal and technical challenges that would not allow the use of ODR for disputes in Pakistan.


Methodology: This research uses the doctrinal legal analysis methodology by asking ‘what the law states about the ODR in Pakistan’ to enrich the subject matter of the ODR and cover all perspectives, issues, features, and the most current advancements in the area of ODR and ADR in Pakistan. Currently, there is no applicable national or international law in Pakistan mainly regulating ODR. Therefore, at this stage, this article analyses the existing rules such as Recognition and Enforcement (Arbitration Agreements and Foreign Arbitral Awards) Act 2011 and Alternative Dispute Resolution Act 2017 to examine whether they apply to ODR. Along with exploring the nature of existing legal framework on the ADR and ODR, this paper significantly develops a theoretical framework that application of ODR standards, in a substernal manner, depends on its socio-cultural acceptance.  Notably, this article does not employ empirical research on the data of ODR. Instead, it uses statistics provided by international and national commissions, groups and centres.  


Findings: There is evidence that ODR is still at an early stage of evolution in Pakistan, as it faces cultural, regulatory and technological challenges that hinder the growth of ODR.


Contributions: Despite its incomplete development, ODR has demonstrated its potential adaptability by accommodating national contexts. This is an essential feature because the aim is not to blindly transfer a dispute resolution system from other jurisdictions but to habilitate it to the national cultural features as well as social limitations, especially those regarding ICT infrastructure. ODR has also shown its great potential in Pakistan, may provide an affordable and speedy alternative to the usually unsatisfying traditional litigation system, and may allow the resolution of disputes to be completed time-efficiently and cost-effectively.


Keywords: Access to Justice, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Consumer Disputes, Online Dispute Resolution


Cite as: Kaya, S., & Khan, M. D. (2022). Online dispute resolution in Pakistan: Challenges and opportunities. Journal of Nusantara Studies, 7(2), 103-119.


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How to Cite
Kaya, S., & Khan, M. D. (2022). ONLINE DISPUTE RESOLUTION IN PAKISTAN: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES. Journal of Nusantara Studies (JONUS), 7(2), 103-119.