ADR - FAQs and useful links

FAQs about the proceeding

In which cases can I apply for an ADR procedure? What should my application contain? What does suspension of the period of limitation mean? Here you can find answers (more).

Useful links all over Germany and Europe (more)

Also good to know

Obligatory attempt of conciliation
The system of ADR is usually based on the voluntary participation of the disputing parties. In certain cases, however, state law can prescribe an obligatory attempt of conciliation as a pre-requisite for subsequent court proceedings according to the introductory laws to the German Code of Civil Procedure (§ 15a, 2 EGZPO).

Only in certain cases an obligatory attempt of conciliation is prescribed by state law. Without this attempt a case can be declined at court, especially if it concerns financial disputes up to a litigation value of 750 Euros, neighbour or defamation disputes. These rules are only applicable if both parties have their residence in the same “Bundesland”.

However, an obligatory attempt of conciliation is not - no matter how high the value of litigation is - a pre-requisite for litigation in case of family disputes or if the complaint has been preceded by a “Mahnverfahren” (a simplified and fast procedure for debt-collecting).

Suspension of the period of limitation
As long as the period of limitation for a given dispute has not expired the alternative dispute resolution has a distinctive advantage: the period of limitation will be suspended whether you initiate a proceeding or “merely” negotiate with the opposing party (§§ 203 and 204, I no. 4 of the German Civil Code (BGB).

This means that there is a suspension of the period of limitation as long as there is an ongoing ADR procedure. But notice that if the period of limitation applicable to the dispute has already expired and the opposing party invokes the limitation, your application for conciliation will be denied.

Settlements concluded before an ADR body that have been established or are recognised by the administration of justice of the Bundesländer are enforceable titles according to § 794, I no. 1 of the German Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO). Other forms of settlements are considered as contracts that can be enforced via a civil court action.

Arbitration Courts
The ADR bodies mentioned here are not to be confused with a court of arbitration (“Schiedsgerichte”). More.

Complaints in administrative matters? SOLVIT!
The SOLVIT-Net is designed to help citizens or businesses to deal with cross-border problems with a national public authority involving a possible misapplication of EU law.

Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie
[Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology]
Scharnhorststrasse 34-37, 10115 Berlin
Phone: 01888 / 615-6444
Fax: 01888 / 615-5379
eMail: [email protected]

European Ombudsman
He investigates complaints regarding maladministration by the institutions and organs of the European Community.
1, Avenue du Président Robert Schumann
B.P. 403, F-67001 Strasbourg Cedex
Phone: 0033 / 388 / 172313
Fax: 0033 / 388 / 179062
eMail: [email protected]

National Complaint Centres
Complaints regarding national, regional or local administrative matters are dealt with by the ombudsman or the petition committee of the respective authority.

Disputes between neighbours or relatives, at work or between traders
Institutions providing ADR services are also offering help in case of neighbourhood and family disputes, disputes between landlords and tenants as well as employment related disputes. In those cases, please contact the “Rechtsantragstelle” (the office for legal applications) of the local courts, the local tenant association or a “Schiedsperson” (an arbitrator) in the respective area.

Some Chambers of Commerce and Industry have established “Schiedsstellen” for disputes between merchants (cf. ADR-bodies in Germany, contact details under “Retail”).