One of the objectives of Directive 2013/11/EU was to promote high-quality consumer alternative dispute resolution (ADR) schemes in the European Union (EU) through the creation of certification processes and regular monitoring by Member States. To obtain and keep certification, ADR bodies must continuously comply with several binding requirements set down in the Directive testifying–among other things–of their impartiality, expertise, transparency, accessibility, as well as of the fairness, timeliness and effectiveness of their procedures. The objective of this regulatory architecture was to trigger some long-term effects on the procedural design and functioning of ADR bodies and to enhance their credibility and legitimacy vis-à-vis consumers and traders. As such, the new rules have aimed to respond to the criticisms sometimes expressed about the way ADR providers operate, in particular concerns regarding schemes’ lack of independence, limited accountability and possible effects on due process. Yet, doubts have been expressed about the ability of the Directive to secure a consistent approach fully supporting high-quality ADR in the EU. This paper intends to test these doubts against facts and evidence. Based notably on replies to a questionnaire sent to Competent Authorities, it zooms in on experiences in two Member States, namely France and the United Kingdom (UK) (more specifically for the latter in the civil aviation and non-regulated sectors). It highlights how the binding quality criteria have been working in practice and the impacts that the Directive has had on ADR bodies in those Member States and sectors. It sheds light on several persisting issues, and makes some policy recommendations, which may be relevant for policymakers not only in France and the UK, but also in other Member States and at the EU level when further developing a sustainable framework for high-quality ADR. In 2019, the European Commission is expected to publish a report on the implementation of the Consumer ADR Directive in all Member States. This contribution may be viewed as a first small step in that direction.

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Journal of Consumer Policy: consumer issues in law, economics and behavioral sciences
Erasmus School of Law

Biard, A. (2018). Impact of Directive 2013/11/EU on Consumer ADR Quality: Evidence from France and the UK. Journal of Consumer Policy: consumer issues in law, economics and behavioral sciences. doi:10.1007/s10603-018-9394-z