Unité de droit international.

Centre de droit privé de l'ULB.

2009-2011

European project about "Judicial Cooperation in Matters of Market Integretion and Consumer Protection".

 

The aim of the Research Project is to undertake a comprehensive study of the legal issues (pertaining to judicial cooperation in civil matters) which arise from the cross-border application of market regulation and consumer welfare regimes within the European Union, including cases where third countries are also involved, and relevant aspects of e-commerce and e-justice.

Market regulation has been one of the cornerstones of European economic integration. Consumer welfare, good economic governance and free and fair competition are pivotal to the promotion and safeguarding of the fundamental Community freedoms. They are also vital to the development of the distinctly European model of social market economy.  In legal theory, regulatory law has shaken traditional assumptions about the nature and function of public law and private law: new institutions have been created in both procedural and substantive law. Private international law is particularly challenged by regulatory law: whereas the classic, “bilateral” method of the conflicts rule is used for traditional private-law subjects, in market regulation it is the “unilateral” method of extraterritoriality that seems to prevail, even when it comes to the private enforcement of market regulation. Consumer protection has also been an area of noticeable Community activity – in fact, it has been pivotal in efforts to harmonize and coordinate European private law. Today, a veritable corpus of European consumer law exists, and Community-sponsored initiatives to take stock, and subsequently build upon, the consumer acquis are nearing completion. The project aims to consider the judicial cooperation aspects of consumer welfare in a more global manner than has been done in the past, and in conjunction with the regulatory aspects.

The activities of the project are coordinated by the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and the associate partner, the University of Cyprus (CU). The research is piloted by a team of jurists from these two institutions, under the direction of Prof. Arnaud Nuyts and Prof. Nikitas Hatzimihail. The project also involves the participation of a group of experts coming from various Member States and the United States, including Profs. Garyfalia Athanasiou, Alegria Borras, Aurelia Colombi-Ciacchi, Richard Fentiman, Joaquim Forner, Cristina Gonzalez, Burkhard Hess, Ralf Michaels, Horatia Muir Watt, Luca Radicati di Brozolo, Maciej Szpunar, Louise Ellen Teitz. 

The project involves comprehensive background research undertaken from a comparative law perspective, seminars with the participating experts and invited specialists in the field (respectively at the University of Cyprus and at the University of Barcelona), the drafting by each of the experts of an in-depth paper relating to an aspect of the study, an international symposium to be held in Brussels in the fall of 2011, and the publication of a book by a professional legal publisher that will include all the papers and a general report.