Dr Riefa charts the difficulties encountered by vulnerable consumers in their access to justice, presenting the book she co-edited in 2020. This book is an edited collection mixing the work and perspectives of academics, practitioners and consultants in the field of consumer law and access to justice. 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 lack of access to justice is primarily a vulnerability in itself that can exacerbate existing ones. In addition, because it may contribute to ‘pushing’ already vulnerable consumers into social exclusion it is not simply about economic justice but also about social justice. The book 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 effective courts systems to offer the vulnerable with adequate means to defend themselves.
About the Speaker
Dr Christine Riefa specialises in consumer and e-commerce/new-tech law. She is widely published on these topics with work cited in official documents from international institutions (incl. The World Economic Forum, UNCTAD, the OECD) and academic scholarship. Her latest books include Consumer Theories of Harm, an economic approach to consumer law enforcement and policy making (Hart 2019); Vulnerable Consumers and the Law (Routledge 2021); Consumer Protection and Online Auction Platforms (Routledge 2016). She currently serves on the United Nations Working Group on Consumer Protection in E-Commerce (sub-groups on unfair commercial practices and sub-group on cross-border enforcement) as part of UNCTAD Inter-Governmental Group of Experts. She is also a member of the Consultative Group of Experts of the Committee for the development of an International Code for the Protection of Tourists at the World Tourism Organisation (A specialised agency of the United Nations). She is a Board Member of the International Association of Consumer Law and a founding editor of the Journal of European Consumer and Market Law (EuCML, published by Beck and available on Kluwer).
How to register This event is open to all. Places are free but please register via Zoom.
For more information please contact Nikhil Gokani, School of Law, University of Essex.