Tag Archives: Online Dispute Resolution

British Columbia passes law to Encourage use of Online Dispute Resolution instead of Small Claims Court

19 Feb

The B.C. government is still pursuing its online arbitration and  online dispute resolution initiative. It unveiled plans almost two years ago to take small civil claims and condominium disputes out of the courts and put them online. The B.C. government is putting a task force together to bring this initiative to fruition.

“Both individuals and business owners will find this a convenient and affordable way of reaching agreements,” B.C. Attorney General Shirley Bond said in a statement. “Few people want to go to court to solve a legal dispute, which can be costly, intimidating and time consuming. A tribunal offers an innovative alternative to settling a dispute in a faster, more amicable way.”

The government is hoping to launch the online arbitration infrastructure in 2014 as a way to cut legal fees and travel costs for parties as well as to reduce the backlog of cases in the courts.

With the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act, the B.C. Ministry of Justice is predicting a 60-day dispute resolution process, compared with the 12 to 18 months it can currently take for cases to wind their way through the province’s Small Claims Court. The tribunal will be available for disputes worth up to $25,000 where both parties agree to participate. However, it will be mandatory in certain types of property disputes involving condominiums.

The Act mandates that disputing parties are to represent themselves in the tribunal proceeding, however provision is made for legal representation in certain circumstances.

The tribunal will progress in four stages, with participants moving to the next stage only if they are unable to reach an agreement:

  1. Self-Help Dispute Resolution using online, interactive tools with information, tips and templates to help the parties reach a settlement;
  2. Supervised Negotiations Online;
  3. Direct Intervention by a Case Manager to Facilitate Settlement; and
  4. Online Tribunal Hearing where a final decision is made – the order can be filed with the court giving it the same force and effect as if it were a judgment of that court.

European Parliament Votes In New Law Providing For Online Dispute Resolution

4 Dec

Earlier this year the European Parliament adopted two key legislative measures regarding the resolution of consumer disputes in Europe. The new regulation mandates that all businesses selling goods or services to consumers online in any European Union member state, excluding those in the health and education sectors, make available a link to a EU-wide online platform that will be set up to handle consumer disputes.

The directive requires all EU member states to implement the Online Dispute Resolution initiative within 2 years of the regulation’s entry into force. The directive applies to any purchase made domestically or across EU borders.

The official press release can be seen below.

European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 12 March 2013

A step forward for EU consumers: Commissioner Tonio Borg welcomes adoption of Out-of-court Dispute Resolution

Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg, welcomed the vote of the European Parliament on Alternative Dispute Resolution and Online Dispute Resolution (ADR-ODR) today. This vote confirms the agreement on the two proposals put forward by the European Commission in 2011.

Tonio Borg said: “Today, the European Parliament confirmed its agreement on two key proposals for boosting growth in the Single Market and strengthening the Digital economy. ADR and ODR are a win-win for consumers, who will be able to resolve their disputes out-of-court in a simple, fast and low-cost manner, and also for traders who will be able to keep good relations with customers and avoid litigation costs. It must be stressed that the EU institutions achieved a fast agreement which will significantly improve everyday life for consumers across Europe”.

He also added: “I want to take this opportunity to thank the rapporteurs of the two proposals at the European Parliament, Louis Grech and Róża Thun, for their commitment to reach an agreement. I am also grateful to the Member States and the Presidencies of the Council for their intensive work on these files. This is a truly inter-institutional achievement to boost consumers’ and traders’ confidence in the internal market and its digital dimension.”

The rules on ADR will ensure that consumers can turn to quality alternative dispute resolution entities for all kinds of contractual disputes that they have with traders; no matter what they purchased1 and whether they purchased it online or offline, domestically or across borders.

According to the ODR Regulation, an EU-wide online platform will be set up for handling consumer disputes that arise from online transactions. The platform will link all the national alternative dispute resolution entities and operate in all official EU languages.

Raising consumers’ awareness is another pillar of this legislation, as traders will need to provide consumers with adequate information on ADR and ODR.

Member States will have two years to implement the ADR/ODR rules. The ODR platform will be operational at the end of 2015.

For more information:

http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/redress_cons/adr_en.htm

Source: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-192_en.htm?locale=en

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