In the Procedural Surroundings of Consumer Protection: Online Dispute Resolution, the Adversarial Principle, and Tendencies toward Settlement

Erik Björling


The article builds on a pluralistic perspective on law and the understanding that legal research must take into account the procedural and institutional landscape where legal rights are enforced. In relation to online dispute resolution (ODR), two procedural mechanisms, namely the adversarial principle and the tendency toward settlements, are studied and discussed. The adversarial principle (argued to be integral to most ODR procedures) and tendencies toward settlements (also argued to be integral to most ODR procedures) are considered in relation to the overarching (and possibly contradictory) objectives of protecting individual consumer rights and the interest of increasing economic efficiency within the EU’s internal market.


ADR; Adversarial Principle; Consumer Litigation; ODR; Procedural Law; Settlements

Full Text:


Show references Hide references

[1] ARN. (2019) [online] Available from: [Accessed 11 March 2019].

[2] AVZS. (2019) [online] Available from: [Accessed 11 March 2019].

[3] Bladini, M. (2013) I objektivitetens sken: en kritisk granskning av objektivitetsideal, objektivitetsanspråk och legitimeringsstrategier i diskurser om dömande i brottmål. Göteborg: Makadam.

[4] Carnerio, D. et al. (2012) Online dispute resolution: an artificial intelligence perspective. Artificial Intelligence Review, 41.

[5] Cortés, P. (2014) Online Dispute Resolutions Services: A Selected Number of Case Studies. Computer and Telecommunications Law Review, 6.

[6] Cortés, P. (2016) The New Landscape of Consumer Redress: The European Directive on Consumer Alternative Dispute Resolution and the Regulation on Online Dispute Resolution. In: Pablo Cortés (ed.). The New Regulatory Framework for Consumer Dispute Resolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[7] Cortés, P. (2017a) The Law of Consumer Redress in an Evolving Digital Market: Upgrading from Alternative to Online Dispute Resolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[8] Cortés, P. (2017b) The Online Court: Filling the Gaps of the Civil Justice System? Civil Justice Quarterly, 36 (1).

[9] Danelius, H. (2012) Mänskliga rättigheter i europeisk praxis: En kommentar till Europakonventionen om de mänskliga rättigheterna. Stockholm: Norstedts Juridik.

[10] Davies, M. (2010) Legal Pluralism. In: Peter Cane and Herbert Kritzer (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of Empirical Legal Research. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[11] De Paolo, G. and Canessa, R. (2016) New Trends for ADR in the European Union. In: Pablo Cortés (ed.). The New Regulatory Framework For Consumer Dispute Resolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[12] Directive 2013/11/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes and amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 and Directive 2009/22/EC.

[13] Eidenmüller, H. & Engel, M. (2014) Against False Settlement: Designing Efficient Consumer Rights Enforcement Systems in Europe. Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, 29 (2).

[14] European Commission. (2011) Commission Staff Working Paper Impact Assessment Accompanying the document Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Alternative Dispute Resolution for consumer disputes (Directive on consumer ADR) and Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on Online Dispute Resolution for consumer disputes (Regulation on consumer ODR). SEC(2011) 1408 final.

[15] European Commission. (2012) Communication From The Commission To The European Parliament, The Council, The Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: A European Consumer Agenda – Boosting confidence and growth. COM(2012) 225 final.

[16] European Commission. (2017) Report From The Commission to The European Parliament and The Council on the functioning of the European Online Dispute Resolution platform established under Regulation (EU) No 524/2013 on online dispute resolution for consumer disputes. COM(2017) 744 final.

[17] Förordning (2015:739) med instruktion för Allmänna reklamationsnämnden'. (2015) (Instruction for ARN).

[18] Galanter, M. (1975) Afterword: Explaining Litigation. Law & Society Review, 9 (2).

[19] General Consumer Arbitration Board Center for Mediation (Allgemeine Verbraucher-schlichtungsstelle Zentrum für Schlichtung) Activity report (2018).

[20] Gesetz über die alternative Streitbeilegung in Verbrauchersachen – Verbraucher-streitbeilegungsgesetz (Act on Alternative Dispute Resolution in Consumer Matters).

[21] Hodges, C. (2016) Consumer Redress: Implementing the Vision. In: Cortés, Pablo (ed.). The New Regulatory Framework for Consumer Dispute Resolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[22] Judgement of 18 March 2010, Joined Cases, Rosalba Alassini vT elecom Italia SpA (C-317/08), Filomena Califano v Wind SpA (C-318/08), Lucia Anna Giorgia Iacono v Telecom Italia SpA (C 319/08) and Multiservice Srl v Telecom Italia SpA (C-320/08) Par 45, C-317/08, C-318/08, C 319/08 and C-320/08.

[23] Judgement of 26 October 2006, Mostaza Claro v Centro Móvil Milenium SL, C-168/05, ECLI:EU:C:2006:675.

[24] Judgement of 27 June 2000, Joined Cases, Océano Grupo Editorial SA v Roció Murciano Quintero and Salvat Editores SA v José M. Sánchez Alcón Prades and Others, C 240/98 to C-244/98, ECLI:EU:C:2000:346.

[25] Judgement of 4 June 2009, Pannon GSM Zrt. v Erzsébet Sustikné Győrfi, C-243/08, ECLI:EU:C:2009:350.

[26] Judgement of 3 October 2013, Soledad Duarte Hueros v Autociba SA och Automóviles Citroën España SA, C-32/12, ECLI:EU:C:2013:637.

[27] Judgement of 6 July 2010, VB Pénzügyi Lízing Zrt. v Ferenc Schneider, C-137/08, ECLI:EU:C:2010:659.

[28] Justitieombudsmannen (Parlimentary Ombudsmen). (2017) 'Dnr 6398-2017 – Inspektion av Allmänna reklamationsnämnden (ARN) den 23–24 oktober 2017 (Inspection of ARN 23–24 oktober 2017).

[29] Lewis, P. (2007) Litigants in Person and Their Difficulties in Adducing Evidence: A Study of Small Claims in an English County Court. International Journal of Evidence & Proof, 11.

[30] Lindblom, PH. (2017) Progressive Procedure. Uppsala: Iustus.

[31] Lodder, A. R. (2006) The Third Party and Beyond. An Analysis of the Different Parties, in particular the Fifth, Involved in Online Dispute Resolution. Information & Communications Technology Law, 15 (2).

[32] Menkel-Meadow, C. (1996) The Trouble With the Adversary System in a Postmodern, Multicultural World. William and Mary Law Review, 38 (5).

[33] National Board for Consumer Disputes (Allmänna Reklamationsnämnden). (2017) Årsredovisning (Annual Report) 2017.

[34] Regulation (EU) No 524/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on online dispute resolution for consumer disputes and amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 and Directive 2009/22/EC.

[35] Rosenfeld, M. (1998) Just interpretations: Law between ethics and politics. Santa Monica: University of California Press, 1998.

[36]Schlote, J. A. (2017) Polycentrism and Democracy in Internet Governance. In: Uta Kohl (ed.). The Net and the Nation State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[37] Stüner, M. (2014) ADR and Adjucation by State Courts: Competitors or Complements? Grundfragen, 3.

[38] Wagner, G. (2014) Private Law Enforcement Through ADR: Wonder Drug Or Snake Oil. Common Market Law Review, 51.

[39] Wallerman, A. (2019) Manoeuvring Procedural Autonomy In Sweden: Is Materielle Prozessleitung the Answer? In: Anna Nylund and Bart Krans (ed.). Procedural autonomy: Room for manoeuvre? Cambridge: Intersentia [forthcoming].

[40] Weiss, R. (2006) Some Economic Musings on Cybersettle. University of Toledo Law Review, 38.

[41] Zeleznikow, J. (2017) Can Artificial Intelligence And Online Dispute Resolution Enhance Efficiency And Effectivness In Courts. International Journal For Court Administration, 8 (2).

Copyright (c) 2019 Masaryk University Journal of Law and Technology