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Claiming Consumers’ Rights Patterns and Limits of Adversarial Legalism in European Consumer Protection

GPS, Vol. 4 No. 1, (2008)

Litigation has turned into an instrument that of consumer
protection in Europe. However, the institutional and political
barriers for adversarial legalism American style are high in
European countries. Contrary to the United States punitive
damages are not an option and contingency fees for lawyers are
strictly limited. The paper states that a distinctive way of European
adversarial legalism has emerged instead. It is much more based
on public interest groups than on law firms that bundle claims.
This model fits in national cultures and to business groups it looks
less risky. For the European Commission policy tools like
collective redress are a decentralized way to bolster compliance in
member states. So national legal traditions, business groups
behavior and the commission’ preferences have paved the way to a
European way of law enforcement in consumer policy.

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