In June 2011, the European Parliament published a draft report on ADR in civil, commercial and family matters. The report can be viewed here.In the draft report, the Parliament made the following points:
- Any approach to ADR should go beyond consumer disputes, to encompass business-to-business, civil, commercial, family and defamation disputes;
- ADR standards should include: adherence to ADR; independence, impartiality and confidentiality; effects on limitation and prescription; enforceability of agreements resulting from ADR; and qualification of third parties;
- While self-regulation is important, legislative action is necessary to provide a framework for ADR within Member States;
- Caution should be exercised in making ADR compulsory at EU level;
- There should be an obligation on the third party to keep ADR information confidential. The Parliament is considering the creation of a professional privilege;
- There is great potential in online ADR, particularly for smaller claims. Where ADR is carried out online, procedural standards should not be lowered and issues such as the enforceability of awards should be resolved;
- There is potential for ADR within the ongoing discussion on collective redress;
- More information should be given to citizens and small and medium-sized enterprises about ADR schemes in general; and
- The Commission should explore providing a harmonised legal framework for some aspects of ADR across sectors.
This draft report is part of a broader push for greater use if ADR within the EU, with the Mediation Directive the most high profile current development. Please refer to our posts on the Mediation Directive and the use of ADR for consumers for more information.