From Safety Nets to Support Networks: Beyond 'Vulnerability' in Protection for Consumers with Cognitive Disabilities

29 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2019

See all articles by Yvette Maker

Yvette Maker

Melbourne Social Equity Institute; University of Melbourne - Law School

Jeannie Marie Paterson

University of Melbourne - Law School

Anna Arstein-Kerslake

University of Melbourne - Law School

Bernadette M. McSherry

Melbourne Social Equity Institute; Monash University - Faculty of Law; Melbourne Law School

Lisa Brophy

University of Melbourne - Melbourne School of Population and Global Health

Date Written: February 1, 2019

Abstract

This article considers the significance of the obligations in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (‘CRPD’) for consumer protection law and policy. The current legal response to consumers who require additional decision-making support is primarily focused on mechanisms to release consumers classified as ‘vulnerable’ from transactions tainted by concerns about a lack of genuine consent. While these legal responses provide an important safety net of protection against predatory and exploitative behaviour, they are limited in their ability to encourage social participation and equal access to goods and services for consumers with cognitive disabilities. We argue that the CRPD requires an approach to consumer protection that provides more meaningful support for consumers with cognitive disabilities and make suggestions about what this support might entail in terms of changes to both the legislative regime and contracting practices.

Keywords: disabilities, consumer protection law, decision-making

JEL Classification: K00, K39

Suggested Citation

Maker, Yvette and Paterson, Jeannie Marie and Arstein-Kerslake, Anna and McSherry, Bernadette M. and Brophy, Lisa, From Safety Nets to Support Networks: Beyond 'Vulnerability' in Protection for Consumers with Cognitive Disabilities (February 1, 2019). University of New South Wales Law Journal, Vol. 41, No. 2, 2018; U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 810. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3327047

Yvette Maker (Contact Author)

Melbourne Social Equity Institute ( email )

Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

Jeannie Marie Paterson

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

Anna Arstein-Kerslake

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

Bernadette M. McSherry

Melbourne Social Equity Institute ( email )

Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

Melbourne Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

Lisa Brophy

University of Melbourne - Melbourne School of Population and Global Health ( email )

4/207 Bouverie Street
Parkville, Victoria
Australia

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