If we can’t help to settle your dispute using our complaints procedure, ABTA’s Arbitration Scheme may help

It’s administered independently of the travel industry and is only available if your complaint is regarding an ABTA Member.

For personal injury and illness claims, you can use our mediation scheme.

The ABTA arbitration scheme

Arbitration can be used to settle alleged breaches of contract and/or negligence between consumers and ABTA Members. If your claim includes an element of minor illness or personal injury then this can also be considered by the arbitrator, but is limited to £1,500 per person.

ABTA’s Arbitration Scheme has helped consumers for more than 40 years. The scheme allows consumers to resolve disputes without going to court; it is speedier, less formal and costs less than instructing solicitors. Arbitration is conducted privately based on written documentation and evidence. The main points to remember are below.

  • To use our scheme you must have registered your complaint with us first, and have reached deadlock.
  • A neutral, independent arbitrator considers evidence submitted by both the claimant and respondent.
  • The arbitrator makes a decision about compensation – called an award – after considering the evidence. This decision is final and legally binding.
  • If you win (or partially win), the ABTA Member will send you the money awarded. Payment is due within 21 days from the date the award is issued.
  • Within 14 days of the award being issued, either party can appeal to the independent arbitration company.
  • If you lose or you are awarded less than previously offered to you by the ABTA Member, you will be ordered to pay an amount, which is equal to your registration fee – but no more. For example, the ABTA Member offers you £500 but you turn that down. The arbitrator goes on to award you £400; therefore you have to pay back the equivalent of your registration fee to the ABTA Member.
  • The arbitrator has the power to deduct any sum from the amount awarded.


Total of claim Fee
£1.00 – £2,999.99 £108.00
£3,000 – £7,499.99 £180.00
£7,500 – £25,000 £264.00

Prices are subject to change

More Information

The deadline for submitting your paperwork to us for arbitration is within 18 months of the date that you returned from your holiday. Please make sure your complaint reaches us well before the deadline so that we have time to process it.


There are only two routes for challenge against the award.

  1. You can appeal through the High Court within 28 days of receiving the award.
  2. You can request an appeal under the ABTA Arbitration Scheme appeal procedure. Any application for appeal must be made within 14 days of receiving the award.

The ABTA mediation scheme

Mediation can be used for claims not covered by the ABTA Arbitration Scheme. For instance, personal injury, serious illness, nervous shock, death or the consequences of any of these.

Mediation cannot be used in disputes where one of the parties has already begun legal action, unless both parties have agreed to suspend or discontinue the legal action.

Our mediation scheme is independent of ABTA, and is a quicker and cheaper way to resolve a dispute without going to court.

The process

  • Each party appoints a decision-maker to represent them; the decision-makers attend a meeting, which takes place at a venue arranged and agreed by all parties and at their cost.
  • The parties must also pay their costs of representation, unless agreed otherwise in any settlement agreement.
  • An independent mediator sets out the rules governing the mediation process before the meeting.
  • If the dispute is resolved during mediation, the mediator records in writing the agreement reached by the parties.
  • The signed agreement is a binding contract and can be enforced by the Court.