Study on the use of alternative dispute resolution in the European Union

Project summary:
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a term used for a wide variety of mechanisms aimed at resolving conflicts without direct intervention by a court. ADR schemes usually use a third party such as an arbitrator, mediator, or an ombudsman to help the consumer and the trader reach a solution to their dispute. The European Commission has adopted two Recommendations (98/257/EC and 2001/310/EC) which have established principles for ADR schemes. Member States have notified the Commission of more than 400 ADR schemes that they deem to be in conformity with the principles set up in the Recommendations. Nevertheless, ADR mechanisms have been developed unequally across the European Union. The number of ADR bodies, the procedures (arbitration, mediation, etc.), the nature of the initiative (public or private), and the status of the decisions adopted by ADR bodies (recommendation or binding decision) differ greatly. This study provided an overview of existing ADR schemes throughout the EU and how they work. Civic Consulting collected quantitative and qualitative data in order to identify consumer ADR bodies in the Member States, to identify existing gaps, and to analyse whether existing ADR schemes are in conformity with the Commission Recommendations. The report was based on data collected between January and August 2009.

Client/Financing Institution:
European Commission, DG SANCO


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