The European Parliament in plenary session has overwhelmingly approved the Directive about Alternative Dispute Resolution ADR and ODR Regulation that will allow consumers and companies to present EU online disputes arising out of online shopping, thanks to the ODR platform.
Definitely a victory for European consumers, but how important is the reconciliation in the Italian political agenda?
The legislative package passed by the European Parliament focuses on economic growth and development of the Internal Market by pointing on tools for alternative dispute resolution for consumer. Europe does not abandon the binomial justice / growth and estimates at about 22.5 billion euro a year the amount that consumers could save if they had simple and fast system of dispute resolution.
In Italy, the attention to justice is focused on such failure, false accounting, and had no following among voters themes of "justice daily", one that has the face of overcrowded prisons or files lost in a lower court and the other, and about 1280 days needed to recover a claim.
On the other hand, the judgment of the Constitutional Court in which was declared unconstitutional in excess of the mandatory delegation of civil and commercial mediation has certainly put an end to the journey of ADR in Italy. The civil mediation is optional and voluntary in our system, the system of conciliation is enriched (always pushes the European Union as happened also with the mediation) a new tool in the energy sector with the launch of the conciliation service of the Authority for electricity and gas, on April 2013.
Do not have to forget the joint conciliation. Even the joint conciliation that the European Parliament itself has recognized as best practice have the opportunity to be part of the directive passed by the European Parliament to the extent that (states the paper) "the Directive is intended to protect legal traditions and experiences presented in the consolidated different countries, "also about the principles of independence and impartiality requirements regarding the inability of individuals responsible for managing the dispute to be employees of a company do not apply" when the individuals concerned are part of a collegial body consisting of an equal number of representatives of the professional and consumer association ".
Equal representation of interests within the management bodies of consumer disputes is an element that ensures the impartiality of the procedure and results. Even the Recommendation 1998/257/CE on the principle of independence had said: "When the decision is collegial, the independence of the decision-maker is ensured by giving equal representation to consumers and professionals".
The Directive itself insists, however, that will be the United members carry out the conformity assessment of ADRs available in your country. This opens the possibility of a new debate in the country that is likely to remain for the insiders and unleash at most the concern of lawyers (just "reformed" by the recent law on the reorganization of the profession) when in fact these issues should concern the world of small companies and ordinary citizens for whom justice continues to be the face of the unapproachable "Palazzaccio". Then the effort of organizations to protect citizens should not only be to see small areas of recognized standing to exist, but the much more ambitious to contribute to the growth of democracy and respect for human rights that also passes through the provision of a modern and efficient service of justice, which also includes the many forms of dispute resolution available to citizens and healthy for the country.
Liliana Ciccarelli, consumer advocate, Head of the National Office of Reconciliation Policies Cittadinanzattiva