Michael Heron, QC, Creator of CODR. Image from stuff.co.nz.

With an array of new legal apps and online services designed to address legal problems quickly and inexpensively, there is no doubt that we are seeing increasing disruption to how the law has traditionally been practiced. Many of the apps we have seen so far have been invented not by lawyers, but by business people.

Now a story published on the New Zealand news site Stuff reports that Michael Heron, a Queen’s counsel (QC) who as solicitor general was New Zealand’s second highest-ranking legal officer, has introduced  an online service that helps those involved in all kinds of disputes – including property divisions in divorces – to resolve them quickly and inexpensively. The new service, called Complete Online Disputes Resolution, or CODR, is a powerful indication that lawyers as well as clients are seeing the benefits of modernizing how the legal profession conducts its business.

Heron notes that “Court is not an economic place for the division of property to take place, especially for people with combined assets of less than half a million dollars.” Considering court costs and scheduling issues, he estimates that in some situations, a service like CODR could save clients tens of thousands of dollars, and reduce the time-to-resolution from many months to a matter of days.

The article notes that couples who opt for CODR are required to get independent legal advice before committing to the process.

As always, I welcome your thoughts on this or any other matter related to the law, either in the comments section below or directly via email.