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Report on 16th IACL Conference: 2017 BRAZIL

Report on 16th IACL Conference: 2017 BRAZIL

The 16th Congress of the International Association of Consumer Law (IACL), was entitled “Economic Development and Consumer Law”, held at the Faculty of Law of Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), organized by IACL, Brasilcon Institute, UFRGS, University of São Paulo (USP), Pontifical Catholic University (PUCRS), Groupe de Recherche en Droit International et Comparé de la Consommation (GREDICC-UQAM), with the support of CAPES and CDEA and several other sponsors such as Itaipu Binacional.

There were sixty five (65) presentations, with nine keynote speakers, bringing together the most important scholars of consumer law from 29 countries (South Africa, Germany, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Cyprus, Croatia, Cuba, Denmark, Spain, France, Germany, Guinea Bissau, Italy, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, United Kingdom, Senegal, Serbia, Uruguay) and consumer movements, including Consumers International and Brazilian National Consumer Protection System (PROCON). The official languages of the event were English and French, but with the support of PROCON-Porto Alegre, PROCON-RS, CAPES and Brasilcon Institute, there were simultaneous translations of the main lectures into Portuguese. The IACL celebrated its 25th anniversary

The outgoing IACL President, Prof. Gail Pearson, opened the Conference with a speech. The new Board, President Prof. Dr. Michelle Kelly-Low (UNISA, South Africa) and Vice-President Prof. Dr. Marco Loos (University of Amsterdam, Netherland) were also present.

The Panels addressed the following themes: 1) roots and fundamentals of consumer law; 2) contemporary challenges in consumer protection; and 3) the future of international and sustainable consumer law.

It is necessary to mention the presence of numerous consumer law scholars who held their conferences in the Noble Hall of the Faculty of Law (UFRGS), among them the Professors Honoris Causa Thierry Bourgoiegny, Hans Micklitz, Gilles Paisant, Beate Gsell, Antonio Herman Benjamin, Gabriel Stiglitz, Udo Reifner, Wei Dan, Michico Maeda, Marco Loos and Michelle Kelly-Louw.

There was a great deal of concern about the future of consumer law. Prof. Benjamin discussed how the degree of development of a country could affect the concept of consumer. Prof. Hans Micklitz, explored the evolution of consumer rights to a more functional approach, stating the impossibility of codifying an ever more extensive consumer right.

Issues that are constant concerns, such as liability, publicity, abusive clauses, procedures, arbitration, innovative subjects such as big data, artificial intelligence, the share economy, urbanism and energy, were presented and discussed by the numerous panels, enriching the exchange of information among all participants, students, teachers,
in the incessant search for a more just society.

During the event, the book “Consumer protection: current challenges and perspectives – Proceedings of the 25 years of IACL Congress 16-19 July 2017” was published, under the coordination of Professors Claudia Lima Marques, Gail Pearson, and Fabiana Ramos (ISBN 9788565862264), bringing together in 780 pages 36 articles of the main researchers in consumer law present at the Conference.

The articles, written in English, Spanish, French and German, were divided into three parts: the current challenges of consumer law (fundamentals, contractual protection, liability and solidarity, and collective and individual enforcement); the international dimension of consumer law; and the dialogue between protecting the environment and protecting the digital world.

The success of the IACL congress was complete with side events. The Brazilian National Consumer Protection System held a meeting during the Congress, as did some Research Networks, including the German-Brazilian Network on Consumer Protection, the Helsinki-European Institute Florence Research Group together with the Journal of Consumer Law and Policy Review, and the Brasilcon´s Professors on Consumer Law Network.