ADR methods, such as mediation and arbitration, are increasingly becoming the method of choice of parties in dispute. Quicker, cheaper, and more flexible as to the outcome than the courts, many clients are choosing these routes over litigation. In the international arena, ADR has the benefit of flexibility over venue, language and procedure, and being culture and law neutral. The courts in some countries such as England are now imposing costs sanctions on parties who unreasonably refuse to mediate. I attach sample multi-tier dispute resolution clauses I have recently prepared for ADRg, one of the principal providers of ADR in the UK (I am a non-executive Director of ADR Net that is responsible for its panel of mediators.) I hope these may be useful for commercial contracts lawyers.
In addition, recent developments in EU legislation relating to Online and Alternative Dispute Resolution and resulting national legislation that is being implemented in 2015 and 2016 means these methods will be used even more. (See attached guide: Online and Alternative Dispute Resolution – what it means for businesses in 2015.) The impact of these laws on traders and retailers is failure to offer ADR will impact on their reputation and ultimately deter consumers from dealing with them. Consumers will prefer to buy from companies offering good customer service.
Each member of Libralex proposes up to 3 professionals of their firm involved in ADR, whether as Mediator, Arbitrator, Adjudicator, Expert or Neutral, or indeed as an adviser at ADR proceedings. These professionals would form a Libralex Working Group of ADR Professionals within Libralex. Please e-mail contact details to me at [email protected] by 20th February 2015.
The aims of the ADR Working Group
The working Group would agree its own aims, but it is suggested they might include:
- Co-operation in the resolution of international and multi-party disputes
- Possibly forming ADR and ODR panels to tender for DR contracts with Trade Associations, Sector Specific Authorities and Residual Authorities charged with setting up platforms in certain other sectors under the ADR and ODR Directives
- Offering Online Dispute Resolution to clients
- Marketing the cross border and multi-lingual services the professionals can offer, including preparing a short publication
- To develop a new separate section on the Libralex website
- Exchange of information, education and training between professionals as to updates in the law and best practice in their jurisdiction.