An aggregated dispute is a dispute regarding an alleged serious breach of a Principle introduced by several companies similarly affected.
What is the procedure?
An aggregated dispute can be launched by a member of the Governance Group in the case of a serious alleged breach of principles which affects several of its members and with a view to obtaining guidance or interpretation of existing principles.
Any association aggregating a complaint for consideration will:
- collect the relevant information in a legally compliant manner in order to verify that the complaint has substance;
- ensure that interpretation or guidance regarding a principle or example is required, and
- guarantee at all times the anonymity of the parties concerned as well as the confidentiality of any sensitive information.
The aggregated complaint will initially be submitted to the Co-Chair or Governance Group member representing the sector in which the complaint originates. This person will then verify the anonymity of the complaint and, if necessary, edit it to prevent direct or indirect identification of the parties and eliminate any commercially sensitive information.
Should an aggregated dispute be treated at national or at European level?
In case of an aggregated dispute concerning operators in the same country, the national level is the most appropriate level to deal with such disputes because operators share the same language and legal environment.
The EU-level Governance Group will only examine cases having a cross border dimension or cases for which there is no national stakeholder platform in place. It will take a decision as to whether interpretation or guidance regarding a principle is needed:
- if this is not the case, the Governance Group will decline to issue guidance or interpretation.
- if this is the case, the guidance will be developed by the Governance Group, whilst ensuring the anonymity of the parties concerned. Interpretation or guidance will have no retroactive effect and no effect on on-going disputes.
Once approved by the Governance Group, guidance or interpretation will be communicated to all registered companies and published on the website.
At all times, the confidentiality and anonymity of all the parties involved (complainants and companies alleged to have breached principles) will be guaranteed by application of the Rules of Procedure.