The Costs of Non ADR – Surveying and Showing the Actual Costs of Intra-community Commercial Litigation


 EU Member States

 Assessment & Analysis

 December 2008 – April 2010

This project created a survey that analysed the cost of not using ADR in the commercial sector. The project aimed at “jump starting” a new way of thinking when it comes to the commercial sector and how to deal with the inevitable contract breakdowns. The survey presents an illustrative benchmark, a beginning point through which the true cost of litigation, as it adversely effects and stalls profitable transnational exchange within the intra-community commercial sector, can be understood.

The survey supported the validity of intra-EU mediation, by exposing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to the cost of not resorting to more effective means managing cross-border business disputes, and by encouraging them to publicly “pledge” in favour of mediation. By surveying companies in 26 EU Member States, ADR Center was able to quantify how costly it is for their companies to engage in disputes that result in cross-border litigation. The resulting data enabled a) the policy makers to apply the 2008 EU Mediation Directive on a national level, and b) the SMEs and their legal practitioners to recommend the use of ADR to their clients on a transnational level.



  • Designed and tested a comprehensive survey instrument allowing participants to express their point of view and assessment of mediation, as well as creating a website to allow for data gathering
  • Disseminated the survey questionnaire to over 10,000 companies, law firms and individuals
  • Collected and analyzed the data in order to retrieve and analyze the results, the Report of which was then published by the European Parliament



The impact of this project was unquestionably positive. In fact, the data revealed that the vast majority of respondents, whether EU corporations or lawyers, favored expanding the reach of the mediation directive and would like to see an expansion of the directive to include domestic disputes as well. Quality guarantee of the project implementation was ensured by the highly skilled team of project experts who designed and promoted the questionnaires and analysed the survey data, while—as in all survey projects— external evaluation from the participant target groups was clearly expressed in the number of questionnaires collected and the quality and content of the answers and data provided. Moreover, the results of the Survey have been cited many times over in the greater EU Mediation policy discussion.



European Commission


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