ADR – Alternative Dispute Resolution

ADR is an alternative and voluntary process for helping resolve complaints and contractual disputes between customers and businesses out of court and can include concilliation, mediation or arbitration.

Motor Trade Law Plan members can offer free independent conciliation and/or mediation to their customers as an integral part of their customer care and complaints process, as form of facilitated negotiation.

The Rules

Firstly, ADR, unlike going to court, is completely voluntary and relies on all parties including the mediator giving their formal agreement to mediate.

The customer must make an attempt to resolve the complaint with the business in writing on two separate occasions after which they can make a formal request for mediation, including a brief summary of the facts, the remedy sought and any supporting documentation.

Subject the matter being accepted by the mediator, the business will be notified and asked to respond within 14 days as to whether they agree to submit to mediation. If they agree they will be asked to provide a brief summary of the facts and any supporting documentation.

The Process

The mediator will contact both parties in writing within 14 days with notification of whether there is an agreement by both parties to mediate the complaint and mediation can proceed subject to the rules.

The mediation process must be completed within 90 days from the date of agreement to mediate by both parties and will take the form of a facilitated negotiated by the mediator to attempt to focus on the matters in issue and reach an agreement between the parties.

In the event that an agreement if reached, the agreement will be recorded in writing by the mediator and sent to both parties within 14 days of the conclusion of the mediation.

Declining to Mediate

The mediator can decline to deal with a complaint or contractual dispute for any one of the following 6 reasons:
(a) because the consumer did not first attempt to resolve the complaint directly with the trader;

(b) because the dispute is frivolous or vexatious;

(c) because the dispute is currently being, or has in the past been,considered by another ADR Entity or court;

(d) because the value of the claim falls below £100 or above £25,000 ;

(e) because the consumer has not submitted the dispute within the deadline for the submission of disputes. The
deadline is 1 year from the date on which the consumer submitted the initial complaint to the trader.

(f) because dealing with such a type of dispute would otherwise seriously impair the effective operation of the ADR
Entity: for example, where a dispute is too complex and should therefore be best resolved in court.


Experienced ADR practitioners with professional legal qualifications, including mediation training as an integral part of the Bar Professional Training Course, completed before being called to the Bar and commercial arbitration at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.