Summer 2020 Webinar Series

“Vulnerable consumers and access to justice” a talk by
Christine Riefa, Brunel University, UK and Séverine Saintier, University of Exeter, UK,
Wednesday 20th May, 13-14:15 (UK Time).

C Riefa and S Saintier will discuss their latest book on vulnerable consumers and access to Justice and reflect on the impact Coronavirus may have on those key issues highlighted before the crisis…  
C. Riefa, S. Saintier (eds), Vulnerable Consumers and the Law: Consumer protection and access to justice (Routledge 2021) charts the difficulties encountered by vulnerable consumers in their access to justice. Through contributions by eminent academic, practitioners and consultants, the book demonstrates that despite the development of ADR, access to justice is still severely lacking for the vulnerable consumer. The book highlights that a broad understanding of access to justice, which encompasses good regulation and its public enforcement is an essential ingredient alongside access to the mechanisms of traditional private justice (courts and ADR) to protect the vulnerable consumer. Indeed, many of the difficulties are linked to normative obstacles and that a lack of access to justice is a vulnerability in itself that can exacerbate existing ones. Because a lack of access to justice may contribute to ‘pushing’ already vulnerable consumers into social exclusion it is not simply about economic justice but also about social justice. The book however also shows that lack of access to justice is not irreversible nor is it necessarily linked to consumer apathy. New technologies could provide solutions. The book concludes with a plea for developing ‘inclusive’ justice systems with more emphasis on public enforcement alongside more effective courts systems to offer the vulnerable with adequate means to defend themselves.

“Perspectives on the impact Covid-19 on Credit and Debt” a talk by Professor Kathleen Engel, Suffolk University, US and Professor Iain Ramsay, Kent University, UK
Thursday 4 June 2020 13-14.15 (UK time).

Many jurisdictions have responded to the COVID 19 pandemic by modifying existing credit obligations. This webinar considers the comparative response by the UK and US to regulation of credit and debt relationships in the wake of COVID 19. We discuss the various measures such as moratoria on repayment and their relationship to existing regulation. We consider the adequacy and appropriateness of these “breathing space” measures in the short term, and the longer term challenges for credit regulation given the likelihood that significant economic disruption will continue for some time.

“Consumer Protection in the Platform Economy: The ELI Model Rules and the EU Digital Services Act” a talk by Professor Christoph Busch, University of Osnabrück (Germany) Friday 3 July, 2020 1:00PM London time.

This talk discusses recent proposals for strengthening consumer protection in the platform economy. In particular, it presents the “Model Rules on Online Platforms“ which have been elaborated by an international working group under the auspices of the European Law Institute (ELI). These model rules provide innovative solutions for issues such as platform liability and online reviews that could be addressed in forthcoming regulatory initiatives.