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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Prof Dr Susanne Augenhofer

Yale-Humboldt Consumer Law Lecture 2014

Prof. Frensch
Prof. Schwartz
Prof. Markovits



The first Yale – Humboldt Consumer Law Lecture was held on 6 June 2014 in the Senatssaal of Humboldt-University Berlin. Initiated by Professor Susanne Augenhofer (LL.M. Yale Class of 2003), this annual lecture series aims at fostering a transatlantic academic exchange in the field of consumer and commercial law. For this year’s opening event we were privileged to welcome as first guests from Yale Law School: Roberta Romano, Sterling Professor of Law, Daniel Markovits, Guido Calabresi Professor of Law, and Alan Schwartz, Sterling Professor of Law. They spoke on the following topics:


  • Prof. Roberta Romano: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Iron Law of Financial Regulation
  • Prof. Daniel Markovits: Sharing Ex Ante and Sharing Ex Post
  • Prof. Alan Schwartz: The Rationality Assumption in Consumer Law


Professor Peter Frensch, Vice-President for Research at Humboldt University and a graduate of Yale Psychology (M.S., M.Phil, and Ph.D.), emphasized in his welcoming address the importance of cooperation between Humboldt-University and Yale Law School in the field of consumer policy, especially in light of the current debate on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

As Professor Augenhofer had announced in her opening remarks, the three lectures covered a range of different legal fields touching on consumers’ interests. Professor Schwartz posed the question of what kind of consumer a regulator should have in mind. He argued for the traditional “regulation for rationality” in cases where a sufficiently broad empirical basis supporting the contrary remained lacking. Professor Romano then addressed the issue of good regulation by looking at recent financial market regulation, with a focus on the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the Dodd-Frank Act. Her recommendation for avoiding crisis-driven, “sticky” regulation was to provide for a sunset review of regulative measures and to give the regulative agency the authority to issue waivers, thus allowing for experiments aimed at evaluating the regulation’s effectiveness in practice. In the last lecture, Professor Markovits sketched his views on the foundations of contract law and fiduciary relations. He argued that while contracts may be designed by the parties to allow for sharing ex ante, a fiduciary relationship entails duties of loyalty and care, which in themselves constitute the aim of the relationship even where such a duty is not enforceable by law.


Students were offered workshops to discuss issues in more detail with the respective professors. More information on the YHCLL Workshop can be found here.


Yale-Humboldt Consumer Law Lecture
f.l.t.r.: Prof. Schwartz, Prof. Markovits,
Prof. Augenhofer, Prof. Romano
Yale-Humboldt Consumer Law Lecture
participants of the student workshop with Prof. Romano and Prof. Augenhofer