ADR and Settlement of Mass Claims
Edited by Christopher Hodges and Astrid Stadler
Chapter 10: The origins and evolution of consumer dispute resolution systems in Europe
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is the umbrella term given to a set of methods for resolving disputes without the need for a determination by a court. This rather broad definition includes various types of dispute resolution pathways and techniques that characterize the ADR landscape in the EU today. The term ADR is used as a generic name, but causes confusion, since it can describe both a series of techniques and at least two different architectures within which those techniques are applied. Some greater clarity is required. A variety of different but related ADR techniques has developed. These techniques may include: Arbitration, adjudication, mini-trial, binding advice, ombudsman procedure, conciliation, early neutral evaluation, facilitation, conciliation, fact-finding, negotiation, dialogue forums. Some or all of these techniques can be deployed within, or alongside, traditional court-based or arbitration-based dispute resolution systems. But the focus of this chapter is on a separate architectural structure of dispute resolution that has emerged in Europe for the resolution of consumer-to-business (C2B) disputes. That architecture typically involves in-house customer care functions, and external ombudsmen or dispute resolution schemes that form part of business sectors’ codes of business practice. The new architecture has been referred to as ‘Consumer ADR’, but since use of the acronym ADR in that context can give rise to confusion over whether what is being described is ADR in the court-like context, it is preferable to use a different name: accordingly, in this chapter the acronym CDR is adopted for the new architecture.
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