|Title||A survey of the alternative methods for the resolution of consumer disputes in England and Wales|
English consumer law is composed of a combination of common law rules of contract overlaid with statutory rules for the protection of the consumer. The legislation however is strongly influenced by EU harmonising directives which seek in this area to create a level playing field for consumers in what should be a single market of 27 different EU states. In principle these quasi-federal consumer rights should ensure that the consumer is just as happy to buy his goods and services in other EU countries because the protection should be broadly the same. However the cross-border shopper is hindered by the difficulties in enforcing his rights when he may have to do this in a foreign legal system and in a foreign language. The existing rules in the Rome Convention 1980 about the applicable law and in the Brussels Regulation 44/2001 on Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgments do give some advantages to the consumer. If targeted in some way by the supplier in his own country the consumer will be able to rely on his domestic consumer protection rules and take the matter to his domestic courts. However in most cases it will be too expensive and time consuming to take the matter to the courts so that inevitably pressure has begun to mount for the search for alternative ways of resolving disputes. Indeed the commission has long since promoted ADR as the best form of cross-border resolution. This paper concentrates on the English domestic forms of ADR but also keeps one eye on Europe to identify certain contrasts with ADR elsewhere.
|Keywords||Alternative dispute resolution, consumer disputes, cross-border shopper|
|Conference||12th International Conference on Consumer Law|