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The ASEAN Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Guidelines

ASEAN , 14 October 2021

The ASEAN Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Guidelines for Consumer Protection was launched in October 2021. The steady increase of cross-border trade within ASEAN has prompted the region to adopt a harmonised and unified approach to ADR.

The guidelines were developed to assess different approaches to alternative dispute resolution, its implementation in each ASEAN Member State, and the steps to establish and apply the mechanism effectively.

 It takes into consideration international and ASEAN best practices in alternative dispute resolution and sets in place the right conditions for broadening economic growth, promoting competitive markets, and attracting cross-border investments in and across ASEAN as a whole.

 The guidelines are divided into the following areas: (1) Development of National Policies for ADR of Consumer Disputes; (2) Access to Justice; (3) Expertise, Independence and Impartiality; (4) Transparency; (5) Effectiveness; (6) Fairness and Due Process; (7) Legality; (8) Efficiency; (9) Partial Autonomy; and (10) Enforcement.

The development of the guidelines is in line with the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan on Consumer Protection (ASAPCP 2016-2025), specifically to “develop guidelines for common approaches to ADRs including consideration of a mechanism for resolving consumer complaints through consumer groups.”

 The ASEAN Committee of Consumer Protection (ACCP) is ultimately looking to develop the ASEAN Online Dispute Resolution Network by 2025. In addition to developing the guidelines, the committee has undertaken a pilot testing of the ACCP Online Complaints Function which is embedded in the ACCP website. The function is expected to be launched in early 2022.

The ASEAN ADR Guidelines can be downloaded here.