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Content of the EU ADR Directive

Content of the EU ADR Directive

What does the EU legislation on ADR require Member States to do?



Full Transcript

Member States will be required to set up or to ensure that they have ADR bodies to resolve or ADR schemes to resolve all type of consumer disputes that can arise.


In the U.K., as you may be aware, we have many ombudsman schemes, but they have specific sectors that they deal. For instance, financial ombudsman schemes deals with bank disputes or disputes against insurance companies. You have a legal ombudsman, complaints against lawyers, etc., or other legal providers.


But there are other areas, like complaints against airlines. We don’t have any aviary scheme where we can go to if we have a complaint against Ryan Air, for instance.


So it will for member states to, if they don’t have one, to implement some kind of residual aviary scheme . . . So basically an ADR which could be mediation process or arbitration process or an ombudsman scheme. But any consumer dispute, there must be an ADR entity, besides the courts, that could deal potentially with those type of disputes.


This could be a catalyst for great change across Europe. The main purpose of this legislation is to encourage the use of ADR for resolving consumer disputes. The directive also, besides this requirement, also sets a quality criteria. So basically sets up a number of procedural requirements that all ADR schemes, who want to be qualified as European-certified schemes, they have to comply with.


ADR schemes will have to comply with the requirement of transparency. They have to publish how the process works, how many disputes they have or complaints they have received in a year. How many have been resolved; the percentage in favour of the consumer, etc. Disputes have to be resolved within 90 days, which for mediation is not a very long.


At the moment, this information is unclear. The CDR has some sort of estimates, and I think they talk about 8,000 a year, civil and commercial. The telephone mediation that the county courts offer, they talk around 10,000 a year, but these are no more than educated guesses. So this will bring much greater transparency, at least in the consumer sector.



The privacy of a mediation and arbitration process is will remain of course. But they have to disclose some information about third neutral parties, how ADR schemes are being funded, which in the commercial context is not a big concern because parties normally pay 50/50, the cost of the mediation, for instance.


But in the consumer context, it’s normally the business or the traders who foot the bill. So it is interesting to see that there are some guarantees, some safeguards to ensure that the ADR schemes that are providing services are sufficiently independent and impartial when delivering these services.

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