Further to the vote at the European Parliament on 12 March 2013, the Council adopted the Directive on alternative dispute resolution on Monday 23 April.
The Directive obliges Member States to guarantee the existence of out-of-court bodies with competence for contractual disputes between consumers and traders in all economic sectors except for health and education. It sets out conditions of access to such schemes and provisions to ensure mediators are impartial. Disputes must be resolved within three months.
In addition to these provisions, an online platform connecting all national ADR entities will be set up.
Member States have two years to incorporate these provisions into their national legislation.
The Directive on alternative dispute resolution is available here: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/12/pe00/pe00079.en12.pdf
The Regulation on online dispute resolution for consumer disputes is available here: http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/12/pe00/pe00080.en12.pdf