MPI Luxembourg to Undertake Study on the Enforcement of Consumer Law for the Luxembourgish Ministry for the Protection of Consumers

17 October 2019

The Department of European and Comparative Procedural Law of the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg is pleased to announce that it has recently been asked to undertake a research study for the Luxembourgish Ministère de la Protection des consommateurs (Ministry for the Protection of Consumers). The study focuses on the public and private enforcement of consumer law and will be elaborated over the course of several months, beginning in September 2019.

The primary challenge of consumer protection lies in ensuring that rights derived from EU law can be effectively enforced in the national legal systems. Enforcement challenges have come to the fore of both academic discourse and the EU’s legislative initiatives in recent years, as notorious violations of consumer law causing mass harm – often across Member States – have generated difficulties for consumers either in precluding the continuous violation or in being adequately redressed. The violations are well known and include – amongst others – the Volkswagen emissions scandal, the PIP breast implants scandal, and the mass cancellation of Ryanair flights. Depending on the institutional and regulatory framework adopted within the Member States and the specificities of national procedural law, the scope for collective redress, the remedies available in individual and collective actions, the role played by different actors, including consumer protection organisations, as well as the degree of interrelation between courts, administrative authorities and ADR fora, diverge across the Member States. There is an urgent need and added value in examining the most recent developments in consumer law and the shifts these entail as regards the parameters of the public and private institutional frameworks for its enforcement, both at the EU and national level.

Engaging the expertise of the researchers of the Department, as well as its extensive network, the research encompasses four key dimensions of consumer law enforcement: representative actions, public enforcement, the relationship between public and private enforcement and cross-border enforcement. These topics have been identified in light of key developments at the EU level (namely the New Deal for Consumers), as well as within the EU Member States, including Luxembourg.

Led by Professor Burkhard Hess and Dr Stephanie Law, the study will be based on a representative set of national reports, as well as a general study of key legislative initiatives proposed by the European Commission and judicial developments of the European Court of Justice. It is on this basis that the MPI Luxembourg will be able to identify best practices and experiences as well as challenges and obstacles to the effective enforcement of consumer law within and across the national legal systems. The preliminary findings of the study will be presented at a conference to be organised by the Ministry in December of 2019. Thereafter in light of the discussions and evaluations stemming from the conference, the general report will be prepared at the MPI Luxembourg and published in the course of 2020.