09:15 EC welcome and introduction
09:30 1st Discussion: Scope and features of ADR
11:00 2nd Discussion: Costs and funding of ADR
12:30 Lunch break
14:00 3rd Discussion: Information and access
15:30 4th Discussion: Use of new technologies in ADR
17:00 Wrap-up by the Commission
The Commission would like to discuss with experts, on the basis of their expertise, best practices in the area of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for Business-to-Business (B2B) disputes. ADR should be understood in a wide sense, comprehending the non-judicial resolution of a dispute through the intervention of a dispute resolution entity which proposes or imposes a solution, or brings the parties together with the aim of facilitating an amicable solution, e.g. arbitration, adjudication, mediation, onciliation, neutral evaluation or a combination of these mechanisms. It should not include direct negotiations between the parties. The aim is to id
entify the most efficient features for ADR schemes, in particular when dealing with disputes where SMEs are involved and when dealing with cross-border disputes. The aim is also to identify best practices of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR compatibility).
Scope of ADR and features of ADR schemes
- Is there any specific type of ADR (e.g. arbitration, mediation, conciliation) that would be more suitable to resolve disputes where SMEs are involved? In particular, in cross-border situations.
- What are the key procedural elements that can make ADR schemes more attractive to SMEs? In particular, in cross-border situations.
- Are there types of disputes which should be excluded from ADR (e.g. very small claims, non contractual disputes)?
- Should the ADR procedure be limited in time? What is a reasonable length for a B2B ADR procedure? Would this depend on the type of ADR? Would this be different in a cross-border context?
- On which basis (e.g. law, equity, code of conduct) should the ADR take its decision? Would this be different depending on the type of ADR?
- Can the decisions of your ADR scheme or the agreements reached by the parties be challenged in court? On which legal basis?
- How can the decisions taken by your ADR or the agreements reached by the parties be enforced?
Costs and funding
- How much should ADR cost for the parties? On which basis should the fees for the procedure be determined and how should it be designed (e.g. lump sum, percentage of the value of the disputes)?
- Shall SMEs be treated differently than big businesses? If so, how could this work in practice?
- How can B2B ADR be financed? Can the funding of ADR be based only on fees? Are there other forms of financing ADR (e.g. state funding, membership fees to business organisations or chambers of commerce)?
Information and access
- Where in your country can businesses and in particular SMEs get information on
- ADR? Is this information easily accessible? Do you see room for improvement?
- How can the system be improved?
- Does your ADR scheme have a website? What is the content of this website (e.g. general information on your ADR scheme, online application, online procedure)? Do you have any feedback about the information you make available?
- Is there a single entry point to access B2B ADR in your country? If so, can you please explain how it functions?
- If there is no single entry point in your country, do you think that there is a need for one? What should be the function of such a single entry point (e.g. information only or initiation of an ADR procedure or providing Online Dispute Resolution [ODR])?
- Imagine there was a single entry point on national level or on EU level, how could this be financed? Would ADR schemes and businesses be willing to contribute as they will profit from this single entry point?
Use of new technologies in ADR procedures
- Can ADR procedures be simplified by using email, internet, etc? Can you please explain based on concrete examples?
- If your ADR enables parties to carry out the entire procedure online, can you please describe how it works in practice? Did you develop a specific IT tool for this purpose?
- What are the main issues in the handling of disputes online according to your organisation’s experience? In particular, when dealing with cross-border cases.
- Can modern technologies (e.g. translation tools) be used to overcome language barriers, in particular in cross-border cases?