Various new “ombudsmen” have trumpeted their arrival on the ADR scene recently. Consumers and businesses should be aware that these organisations will be issuing contractually binding decisions, unlike ProMediate, which offers a conciliation and mediation service through Click2Resolve. Mediation is a voluntary process and the advantage is that there is no binding decision at the end of it. The parties are free to reach their own resolution of the dispute without being imposed upon. An ombudsman organisation will require that one or other of the parties accepts its decision on the dispute as final and binding on them.
Although the word “ombudsman” sounds official, there are no compulsory rules that such an organisation has to follow or be regulated by any body. It is not a protected name in law and there is nothing to stop anyone setting up as an ombudsman, which is odd.Disclaimer: The information and any commentary on the law contained in this article is for information purposes only. No responsibility for the accuracy and correctness of the information and commentary or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by the author. The information and commentary does not, and is not intended to amount to legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. The article was written on the date shown and may not represent the law as it stands subsequently. For the avoidance of doubt, the views in this article are personal to the author and not attributable to any other individual or organisation.