Alternative Dispute Resolution

The European Commission has just launched a public consultation on the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures for settling consumer disputes out of court. ADR involves the intervention of a third party who can either propose a solution or bring the different parties together to help them find one. It is usually cheaper and quicker than more formal procedures such as taking a customer or a business to court.

There are more than 750 consumer ADR schemes in the EU, sector-specific or applying across different sectors, operating at national, regional or local levels, and funded by the state or privately or both. Yet, according to the Commission, very few consumers or businesses make use of them.

At present, there is no EU legislation for ADR schemes. However, the EC clearly believes that ADR should be more widely used and it is looking to set up a form of EU-wide system. A legislative proposal is planned for November this year.

The public consultation runs until 15th March.

For more information, visit http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/redress_cons/adr_en.htm

IAAPA Europe will monitor developments.