EU Procedural Law Study: Consumer Protection General Report published by the European Commission

26 January 2018

On 26 January 2018, the European Commission published the second General Report of the study on procedural law undertaken by the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg. This strand of the study concerned the effect of divergences in national procedural laws on the equivalence and effectiveness of the procedural protection of consumers under EU consumer law.

The evaluation study, commissioned by the European Commission, is the most comprehensive, empirically-driven comparative investigation of national civil procedure thus far undertaken in Europe. It uses an extensive dataset comprising hundreds of interviews and responses to a multi-language online survey, examines the rules of civil procedure in all EU Member States, and identifies their impact on mutual trust (first strand of the study) and on the protection of consumers under EU consumer law (second strand). The two General Reports will be of interest for all practitioners, academics and policymakers with a focus on judicial cooperation, civil justice and consumer protection.

The General Report on procedural consumer protection, edited by Prof. Burkhard Hess, comprises five Chapters.

- Chapter 1, authored by Dr. Stephanie Law (Max Planck Institute, Luxembourg), provides an extensive overview of the general structure of procedural consumer protection.

- Chapter 2, authored by Prof. Remo Caponi (University of Florence) and Janek Nowak (Max Planck Institute, Luxembourg) examines the obstacles to access to justice in the area of consumer protection, with a focus on costs and legal aid.

- Chapter 3, co-authored by Prof. Burkhard Hess (Max Planck Institute, Luxembourg) and Prof. Piet Taelman (University of Ghent) provides a comprehensive overview of the framework of national procedures, the role of the parties and judge, and the modification of those procedures in light of the ECJ’s development of an obligation requiring the national courts to examine of its own motion potential non-compliance with consumer protection law.

- Chapter 4, authored by Prof. Stefaan Voet (KU Leuven) deals with the interrelation of actions for individual and collective redress while Chapter 5, authored by Prof. Chris Hodges (University of Oxford, Center for Social and Legal Studies) provides a comprehensive overview of key issues of Alternative Dispute Resolution in the field of consumer protection.

The study can be accessed and downloaded free of charge at this URL: http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/just/document.cfm?action=display&doc_id=49503. It has been published alongside information on the European Commission’s New Deal for Consumers.

The General Report of the first strand of the study – concerning the effect of divergences in national procedural laws on mutual trust and the free circulation of judgments - was published by the European Commission in September 2017.

The study has been undertaken by a group of National Reporters and a Consortium of European Universities, academics and practitioners, and has been coordinated by the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg. Collectively, the group conducted 28 national reports, while the Consortium produced two in-depth comparative evaluations of national procedural laws and practices in the form of two General Reports.

The General Reporters and the National Reporters are currently working on an extended version of their drafts, which will be published in book form.