The European Commission launches its new Online Dispute Resolution Platform (ODR) to help resolve cross-border disputes within the EU.

From 15 February 2016 the European Commission will open its new online dispute resolution platform. This platform is designed to be a substitute to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) bodies and offers an easier alternative to previous methods. The ODR will allow for domestic and cross border disputes to be settled where both trader and consumer are residing within the EU.

The UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) states that online businesses are required to provide signposting to the ODR platform from 15th February, 2016. A link to the platform as well as information about its existence, purpose and use as an alternative to resolving disputes, in particular cross border disputes, must be included in any standard terms and conditions of business.

Maltese legislation also states that traders must make the option of using an ADR facility easily accessible to ensure that consumers are aware of its presence. This means that the information with regards to ADR or ODR, including a valid website address must be provided in a clear, comprehensible and easily accessible way on the traders website and in the general terms and conditions of sales or service contracts between the trader and the consumer.

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) are expected to issue their guidelines in due course.

Link to the Europa website: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/solving_consumer_disputes/non-judicial_redress/adr-odr/index_en.htm

Link to the Maltese legislation: http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lom&itemid=12433&l=1

Link to the ODR Portal:  http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/

To speak to one of our lawyers about ODR and how it affects your business, please contact us.