Rethinking the Use of Online Dispute Resolution in Resolving Cross-Border Small E-Disputes in EU
This paper examines the role of existing online dispute resolution (ODR) mechanisms and their effects on ameliorating access to justice – as a protected right by Art. 47 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights – for consumers in EU. The major focus of this study will be on evaluating ODR as the means of dispute resolution for Business-to-Consumer (B2C) cross-border small claims raised in e-commerce transactions. The authors will elaborate the consequences of implementing ODR methods in the context of recent developments in EU regulatory safeguards on promoting consumer protection. In this analysis, both non-judiciary and judiciary ODR redress mechanisms are considered, however, the significant consideration is given to – obligatory and non-obligatory – judiciary ODR methods. For that purpose, this paper will particularly investigate the impact of the EU ODR platform as well as the European Small Claims Procedure (ESCP) Regulation 861/2007 and their role on accelerating the access to justice for consumers in B2C e-disputes. Although, considerable volume of research has been carried out on ODR for consumer claims, rather less (or no-) attention has been paid to provide a combined doctrinal and empirical evaluation of ODR’s potential in resolving cross-border small e-disputes, in EU. Hence, the methodological approach taken in this study is a mixed methodology based on qualitative (interviews) and quantitative (surveys) research methods which will be mainly based on the data acquired through the findings of the Small Claims Analysis Net (SCAN) project. This project contributes towards examining the ESCP Regulation implementation and efficiency in providing consumers with a legal watershed through using the ODR for their transnational small claims. The outcomes of this research may benefit both academia and policymakers at national and international level.