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Demand for Mediation and the ADR Directive

Demand for Mediation and the ADR Directive

Will the EU ADR Directive increase demand for mediation services?

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In terms of volume of business, it remains to be seen. The directive, per se, does not require traders or consumers. Traders in particular, to be linked or to opt into an ADR scheme or mediation scheme. There is already a specific regulation that they’re required to participate in an ADR scheme, like financial institutions, like energy suppliers or the telecoms, so all these big sectors. They have the obligation to belong to an ombudsman scheme, often.

 

But they could also offer mediation services. But what the ADR directive does, is requires traders, that when they have a complaint from a consumer, and that complaint cannot be resolved, the trader will have to notify the consumer two things. One, what are the ADR entities, including mediation, that are available to resolve this type of dispute?

 

Two, whether or not they opt into this system. If they have already opted into the system, like they have a legal obligation like [inaudible 00:53:32] or retailers . . . Some retailers . . . I don’t know. They are linked to the furniture ombudsman, for instance. Or they are willing to consider a scheme, like ABTA, members of ABTA, the travel agency association. So these companies, these traders, they will have to notify consumers, again, about the competent ADR scheme. Which can be mediation and that they are members of this ADR system. So the consumer knows that they’ll be able to pursue further, the complaint through an independent institution.

 

So that is one element. The ODR regulation also requires everyone trading online to have a link to the ODR platform. So if the consumer has a problem, the consumer will go to the platform. They will be informed about their rights, and they will be able to submit a complaint.

 

That’s not required, necessarily. The trader is obliged, legally required, to participate in an ADR scheme. But obviously this will raise awareness. Awareness not just about that it exists, but also what has there to offer. You know? Traders are very simple. They make a very simple cost analysis. Is this worthwhile for me to opt in the system? This is hoped that this will push traders to join in ADR schemes, including conciliatory mediation bodies.

 

 

So I think that increasingly, now, the European commission and the U.K. government, for instance, is looking at requiring airlines to opt in an ADR scheme, which may be an ombudsman scheme or maybe a sort of Med-Arb. So I think there is exciting times ahead. There is a potential for growth, a significant growth of the market, of ADR services, to resolve consumer issues, consumer disputes.

About the mediator

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Pablo is a Senior Lecturer and a non-practising Spanish attorney. He conducts research in the field of dispute resolution, civil procedure and consumer law. He was invited to be a keynote speaker in two international conferences, and he has been invited as a speaker at many other conferences in 15 different countries. He was invited to participate in expert meetings by various organisations, including the UN Commission for International Trade Law... View Mediator