At long last, BIS has published ODR guidance for businesses.
It has been added as an annex to the existing detailed ADR guidance for business that was previously published on the Chartered Trading Standards Institute’s Business Companion website. As the ODR platform facilitates ADR between consumers, businesses and approved ADR providers, it is logical for the ODR guidance to sit as an annex to this more detailed ADR guidance.
The guidance is available at the following link: http://www.businesscompanion.info/en/quick-guides/business-information-other/alternative-dispute-resolution
It helpfully sets out the requirements and advantages of using ADR even when it isn’t compulsory:
Where it is not compulsory for a trader to submit to ADR, it will still be worth considering. Some of the advantages include:
- ADR procedures are often completed more quickly than court proceedings, and can be completed very quickly indeed, allowing you to get on with running your business
costs are often lower. Remember that you cannot normally recover lawyers’ fees as part of a ‘small claim’ (which is any claim valued below £10,000)
- ADR procedures are often completed in private and conducted confidentially, avoiding the risk of adverse publicity and reputational damage that could arise from a court case
- in some types of ADR (such as mediation) the parties to the dispute decide the outcome themselves rather than having it imposed on them
- ADR procedures can be more flexible in terms of their outcome and in terms of whether and how they apply strict rules of law. It may therefore be possible to achieve outcomes that a court could not order, or to get a result that the parties think is fairer than that dictated by law
- ADR procedures can be less confrontational or adversarial than court proceedings. Not only can this reduce stress, it can also be an important consideration when the parties know that they want to have, or must have, an ongoing relationship
- failing to consider ADR can be penalised by the court