Alternatyvios vartotojų ir verslininkų ginčų bei konfliktų teisinio nagrinėjimo formos ir jų charakteristika.
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Out-of-court proceedings or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a peaceful, voluntary alternative method for settling disputes without litigation in the court. ADR institutions usually use a third party to help the consumer and the trader to reach a solution. The main purpose of this article is to share the main insights and experience about the out-ofcourt proceedings in various countries and European Union Member States, to discuss the most important problems concerning ADR and propose possible solutions of these problems. First of all, in this article, ADR is presented and its main advantages are outlined. For example, ADR institutions are indeed a low-cost and quick alternative for consumers for settling disputes with businesses. ADR mechanisms are highly diverse. There are public and private institutions as well as institutions established on the basis of cooperation between the public sector and the industry or consumer organizations and the industry. Although there is a high correlation between the nature of the institution and the funding, i.e. private institutions are usually financed by the industry and public institutions by public funds, ADR bodies established by public law can also be financed by the industry (especially in highly regulated markets). In the majority of the institutions, the participation of the industry in the ADR procedure is voluntary. ADR institutions can also be classified according to the outcome of the procedure. There are institutions that issue a non-binding decision (recommendation) and institutions where the decision is binding on the business but not on the consumer or binding on both parties. Finally, there are mediation-only institutions that try to reach a consensual agreement. In practice, however, many institutions offer a combination of possible outcomes. Especially when decisions are binding on both parties, ADR procedures often foresee a preliminary formal or informal attempt to reach a friendly agreement between the parties. So, as follows, most of the attention in this article is given to the main ADR forms and their description. Also, the article is dedicated to analyse the consumer dispute settlement procedure and its stages, disclosing main problems related with out-of-court proceedings (for example, a short period of litigation, institution decision that has the character of non-binding recommendation, lack of information) in various countries, special attention is paid to propose possible ways of solving these problems.
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