The program went live Aug. 28.
“People are submitting motions for continuance because they have to take time off of work, find childcare or are out of town and unavailable to physically travel to court to resolve their civil case," Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Evelyn McLean said in the release. "We are hopeful that through this online dispute resolution, ... barriers to the justice system will be broken down so that ultimately we conserve court resources and save tax dollars."
With the platform, residents will be able to work through a small claims case directly with the other party or in consultation with a licensed mediator, if they choose to include one, from any computer or internet-connected mobile device, according to the release. However, if the parties are not able to come to an agreement online, they will still have the option of going through the traditional, in-person court process, it said.
Participating in online dispute resolution allows the involved parties to resolve the case before the scheduled hearing date and, on average, in about half the time of the traditional court process, according to the release. It also gives participants the opportunity to work through the dispute at their convenience so they do not have to travel to court during regular business hours, the release stated.
Anyone wishing to use this program can go to www.wilco.org/Elected-Officials/Justice-Courts/Precinct-Three/Civil to start their small claims filing, the first step before online dispute resolution can be an option.