Oh Vienna

It was a great honour to be asked to speak at The European Law Institute Annual Conference last week in Vienna, Austria.


My talk centered around the Second Consultation Paper published by the ELI on “The Relationship between Formal and Informal Justice: the Courts and Alternative Dispute Resolution”.



The session was chaired by outgoing ELI President, the esteemed Diana Wallis, and included contributions from Tiina Astola (Director-General for Justice and Consumers at the European Commission), Naomi Creutzfeldt (Senior Lecturer, The University of Westminster), Felicitas Paller (a judge of the Vienna Commercial Court) and Sir Geoffrey Vos QC (Chancellor of the High Court).


For my part I covered what I considered to be the highlights of the consultation concentrating on key outputs as identified by the project group.


I highlighted the key phrase of the report for me which was “[options]…are constrained by culture and technology.  Disputants will not take a dispute to any provider they do not trust, and they will only use technology that is made user-friendly enough to be accessible.”


I closed with a final thought, saying that whilst I supported the idea of these proposals, as an ADR provider I have some concerns about the influence of the courts in the selection of providers and processes and the potential effect on innovation and cost.  I also called for genuine collaboration between ADR providers in a sector which is very competitive and untrusting.

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