The Myths We Built Around EU Consumer Law
Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law 2014 , Eleven International Publishing (The Hague), 2015, 377-402.
26 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2015
Date Written: January 1, 2015
EU consumer law is an area that has gone down its own, independent path for several decades.It has its own approach, separate institutions and autonomous principles. Several of its basic ‘values’ were not previously present in the legal systems of the Member States, or, if they did exist, they did so in divergent form. Nowadays there seems to be wide acceptance of EU consumer law among academics, especially in continental Europe. Furthermore, there is strong support for the principles of such legislation: its central purpose as well as the methods it uses to protect the ‘vulnerable’ consumer. Because of its recognition, concerns are rarely raised regarding the existing material – not even by UK scholars, whose old contract law approach would make it understandable to raise issues. Certainly, a large part of the European academic community is aware that the premises used to build the current system were based on shaky foundations. Questions like ‘Is this set of sources really followed in practice?’, ‘shouldn’t we protect the consumer in a different way?’ or ‘Is the consumer truly vulnerable at all?’ are rarely asked. The purpose of the article is to ask these questions and highlight some alternative answers to them.
Keywords: EU consumer law, European paternalism, contract law, single market, USA consumer thinking
JEL Classification: K12 - Contract Law
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation