1. bookVolume 9 (2016): Issue 1 (June 2016)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
1338-4309
ISSN
1337-9038
First Published
03 Aug 2009
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

Administrative Aspects of Alternative Consumer Dispute Resolution in the European Union (EU), Slovenia and Croatia

Published Online: 02 Aug 2016
Volume & Issue: Volume 9 (2016) - Issue 1 (June 2016)
Page range: 191 - 222
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
1338-4309
ISSN
1337-9038
First Published
03 Aug 2009
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

The consumer field is widespread and often encompasses different legal fields on a single market, especially when it comes to the field of consumer protection. In fact, the consumer mostly remains a weaker party in resolving consumer disputes, especially in administrative proceedings. Traditional court proceedings do not always offer the most cost-appropriate way of resolving consumer disputes, because the damage with legal costs is disproportionate, especially in Small Claims (20 EUR). In theory, Alternative Dispute Resolution (hereinafter: ADR) is considered more flexible, faster and cheaper for disputes between consumers and businesses. Insofar, Consumer ADR (hereinafter: CADR) is seen as a useful tool that helps consumers realize their right of access to justice. It is argued that CADR systems provide valuable information on the needs of disputants, while preserving confidentiality, increasing consumer satisfaction, equality and grater trust. While CADR is praised in theory as an added value, in practice it still remains unrecognizable and therefore is seen as an ineffective formalism in some EU countries. It seems that consumers and businesses lack awareness of the CADR schemes and their benefits, which have effects on the efficient use of CADR in different public and private institutions. The focus of this paper is on the field of Public Administrative Law, which, through different approaches of scientific analysis, combines the main administrative aspects of CADR systems in the EU. Special attention is given to different administrative barriers in the development of various CADR schemes, which cause the formation of administrative dilemmas in some Member states. The new EU legal regulation on Consumer ADR, Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) and EU Administrative law have set flexible rules and principles that would assure the quality of dispute resolution between EU entities with private or public interests. Similarities in proposed principles would lead us closer towards a common European Administrative Space. However, so far such EU initiatives have left many questions unanswered regarding the supervision and financing of CADR schemes, as well as the administrative issues about the purely internal harmonization of “administrative” CADR practices in Member States. An example of the substantial administrative dilemmas in CADR practices, mostly in the field of universal services, can be recognized in existing CADR systems in selected EU countries, e.g. Slovenia and Croatia.

POINTS FOR PRACTICIONERS: Special attention is paid to the interplay between the CADR and public administration in the EU, which introduces us to various definitions of the concept of CADR in administrative proceedings. The theoretical view shows that the parties in consumer dispute resolution produce various legal relationships (C2B/G or G/B2C, B2B or G2B) of different legal natures (public or private interests), whether under administrative or civil law. Through comparative analysis of the concept of CADR in administrative proceedings among selected EU countries, divergences are shown in the legal framework of CADR procedures, existing CADR schemes and measuring efficiency tools for CADR procedures, which causes key administrative dilemmas in the main sectors of universal services. Despite divergences, some similarities appear between new principles of proposed new EU regulation, which could lead us closer to a common European Administration law. Unfortunately, the statistical analysis of existing CADR cases in selected Member states indicates an inefficient use of these pledged mechanisms. The given guidelines and improvements with one coherent CADR model contribute to the achievement and pursuit of the set goals towards an efficient European Administrative space.

Keywords

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