UK government consults over simplification of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms

There are currently more than 70 different ADR schemes in the UK, and some consumers looking to use ADR in their disputes with businesses find their dispute covered by many ADR providers, which can be confusing. That is according to the Department for Business Innovation & Skills, which is now consulting widely with the aim of streamlining the ADR system and making it easier for people to use.

BIS has launched the consultation in advance of 9 July 2015, the date by which the UK has to transpose into national law a European ADR directive. As well as the directive, an online dispute resolution regulation will come into force automatically on 9 January 2016.

Under the Directive on Alternative Dispute Resolution (2013/11/EU), the government is required to ensure that ADR, provided by a certified ADR body, is available for any dispute concerning contractual obligations between a consumer and a business.

While BIS said that it recognised the advantages of a simplified ADR system - which could mean a single consumer ombudsman, rationalisation of schemes or an umbrella ADR body – the department said there were still significant issues to consider when determining the best approach, which is why it is consulting.

* If you or your business is in dispute and is considering mediation, contact a mediation barrister, who will be able to advise you quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively on the mediation process and your best course of action.