The internal market is to comprise an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods and services is established within the EU. It provides added value to customers and companies in the form of higher quality, greater variety, fair prices, and high safety standards for products and services, all of which encourage consumer protection. The risk of arising direct and indirect obstacles to the proper functioning of the internal market is detrimental to competitiveness and growth, as well as consumer trust. It is crucial to ensure access to simple, efficient, fast and low-cost ways of resolving domestic and cross-border disputes build consumer confidence in the market and strengthen the operation of a single market.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) offers a simple, fast and low-cost out-of-court solution to disputes between consumers and traders. The disparities in ADR coverage, quality and awareness in Member States constitute a barrier to the internal market and are among the reasons why many consumers abstain from shopping across borders and why they lack confidence that potential disputes with traders can be resolved in an easy, fast and inexpensive way. For the same reasons, traders might abstain from selling to consumers in other Member States where there is no sufficient access to high-quality ADR procedures. Furthermore, traders established in a Member State where high-quality ADR procedures are not sufficiently available are put at a competitive disadvantage with regard to traders that have access to such procedures and can thus resolve consumer disputes faster and more cheaply.
The European Union makes remarkable effort to enhance access to ADR mechanism in line with EU standards in Member States, as well as the candidate countries. In this regard, the European Union-Council of Europe Joint Project on “Promoting Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Turkey” was launched on 16 December 2020 to improve the effectiveness of the justice system and access to justice by providing a faster dispute resolution for the citizens, businesses, legal persons as well as other organisations and institutions at large in Turkey. With a total budget of €4 million, the duration of the project is set as 36 months.
Project’s specific objectives are:
To enhance the scope and application of the conciliation and to implement it effectively, by ensuring that the rights of minors, victims and offenders are protected, and skills and professionalisms of the staff of the Directorate General for Criminal Affairs (DGCA) within the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), as well as conciliators, legal professionals and conciliation prosecutors are strengthened.
To enlarge the scope of mediation and arbitration as well as to increase the use and scope of mediation and arbitration in civil law by enhancing the capacity and qualifications of the staff of the Directorate General for Legal Affairs (DGLA) within the MoJ, as well as mediators, legal professionals and judiciary, for a consistent and efficient mediation and commercial dispute resolution.
To enhance the capacity of the MoJ and the staff of the relevant Departments in strategic and policy development of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms, including and issues pertinent to the design, management and financing of its services.
The Kick-off Meeting of the project was held online on 9 March 2021 and the call for tender that aims to create a pool of interested national consultants with the relevant background and work experience to support the implementation of the project was published on 24 March 2021, interested candidates are expected to submit their applications before 23 April 2021. As ECOPNET (European Cooperation & Partnership Network) we invite our partners from relevant sectors and universities to closely follow the project activities. We encourage our partners to raise their awareness on ADR and ODR mechanisms and urge public authorities to take effective actions on the issue. We guide and consolidate our partners under our working groups to ensure the protection of consumer rights, among others, in both domestic and cross-border disputes.
Source: Council of Europe Projects
European Commission DG Legal Service Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumers