The Professional Association of the Mediators in Bulgaria (PAMB) arranged its first specialized training on ADR approach to consumer disputes on 2 July. The training was designed in accordance with Regulation No 2 under the Mediation Act providing the guidelines for specialized upgrading trainings for certified mediators. Accomplished with the participation of experts from the ECC – Net (Bulgaria) and the Consumer Protection Commission it covered basics on the consumer disputes as well the Directive 2013/11/EU on ADR consumers disputes
and Regulation (EU) No 524/2013
both published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 18.6.2013 and entering into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication, i. e. July 8.
Though covering only part of the possible disputes between business (that of traders) and natural persons (that of consumers) these two interlinked and complementary legislative instruments are expected to boost out-of-court ADR instruments on the whole and in particular mediation.
The Directive 2013/11/EU transposition, pending in Member States (9 July 2015) raises many issues to consider:
- What is a “properly functioning” ADR infrastructure? Member States shall fulfill their obligation to facilitate access by consumers to ADR procedures and to ensure that disputes that involve a trader established on their territories can be submitted to an ADR entity which complies with the requirements set out in Directive 2013/11/EU. They may rely on ADR entities established in another member State or regional, transnational or pan-European dispute resolution entities too. And this brings again to the fore the issue of unified standards, unified procedures and synchronized systems (or synchronized “infrastructures”).
- What are the indicators for “quality ADR entity” – is it only institutional capacity and natural persons with high expertise? What the dimensions of expertise, independence and impartiality should be?
- The imposition of a single point of entry for the out-of-court resolution of online disputes, through ADR entities which are linked to the platform will require data arrangements so that case information can be transferred from the platform to a specific provider. Yes, the availability of quality ADR entities across the Union is a precondition for the proper functioning of the ODR platform, but are there such in the countries where mediation is much more “talking” than practice and how could these entities prepare themselves for the requirement. The alternative – state centralization with the ensuing disadvantages.
- Which and what will be the “competent authority” that shall assess whether the dispute resolution entities notified to it as ADR entities fall within the scope of this Directive.
It is the ADR community (in particular the mediation community) turn to provide the politicians with relevant insights on the issues. Meanwhile the ADR structures have to begin consistent work for compliance of their own structure and promotion of their expertise to the Directive requirements.
We would like to start up discussion. Though the adoption of the Directive 2013/11/EU provisions is a question of Member States determination the very fact that it aims at the development of the Single EU Market implies the need for coordination and conversation within the EU community of interest.