ESRC Just Energy Project

Building on existing scholarship, our ESRC project seeks to investigate whether ADR is resulting in more accessible justice for vulnerable and energy poor consumers.

The energy sector is an important site at which access to justice, ADR, and vulnerability intersect. The European Union has mandated ADR as a means of promoting access to justice within the energy sector and energy consumers are particularly prone to detriment. The consequences of detriment are severe, with 10.8% of the EU’s population living in fuel poverty. Energy consumers are particularly at risk of vulnerability.

ADR proponents say it is cheaper, quicker, more accessible, but critics question how accessible it is, and whether it provides access to settlement, not justice. Only 43% of consumers report that ADR is easy to use. Additionally, debate about access to justice has shifted from a focus on demographic groups (e.g. the poor) to a broader focus on vulnerability. This more challenging concept is the focus of this research.