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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Humboldt Consumer Law Clinic


"Strategic Litigation" - conference of the Humboldt Law Clinics on 24 June 2016

On Friday, the 24th June 2016, the Humboldt Law Clinics organized a joint conference on "Strategic Litigation" in the Auditorium of the Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum. The conference aimed to examine the broad field of strategic litigation from the different perspectives of the Humboldt Law Clinic für Internetrecht (HLCI), the Humboldt Consumer Law Clinic (HCLC) and the Humboldt Law Clinic für Grund- und Menschenrechte (HLCMR).

The panel of the HCLC dealt especially under the heading "Enforcing Consumer Rights: Recent Developments in the USA, the European Union and Germany" and looked at different aspects of the enforcement of consumer law.

At the start, Graham Ross, president of the European advisory board of the online dispute resolution platform Modria.Com, gave a presentation on the current development on the European level. In his presentation titled "The EU’s recent consumer ADR/ODR legislation: Why is it not working?", he gave an introduction into the Directive on alternative dispute resolution in consumer issues. Based on this overview Mr. Ross highlighted existing weak points in this field by showing different examples from practice, especially from his work as a mediator. Graham Ross emphasized that alternative dispute resolution, especially through its use of modern technology, can not only make a positive contribution to an effective enforcement of rights, but also allows companies to economically profit from this mean of law enforcement.

After that, Professor Peter Rott, Professor for Civil Law, European Private Law and Consumer Law at the Institute for Economic Law of the University Kassel, referred in his presentation titled "New Collective Redress Instruments for Germany" on the German efforts to introduce a new instrument for collective redress as well as on public enforcement of consumer law and the elimination of consequences for a breach of consumer law. His analysis on the basis of current examples of case law came to the interesting result that, on the one hand, deficits in the effective enforcement of consumer law exist but on the other hand many problems can be properly solved with the existing instruments.

Finally, Professor Judith Resnik, Arthur Liman Professor at the Yale Law School, looked at developments in the enforcement of consumer rights in the United States as part of a talk titled "Aggregation and Disaggregation, Courts and ADR: Access to Justice in the United States". Professor Resnik started with an overview on the developmental history of the American judicial system and the progressive improvements in the access to justice. Subsequently, she explained the "class action" as a "classic" instrument of collective enforcement of law, and she outlined the requirements for such a procedural action. Finally, Professor Resnik focussed on the use of arbitration clauses by companies as a type of alternative dispute resolution. Overall, her talk highlighted not only the enormous relevance but also the responsibility of courts as regards dispute resolution.

The three presentations were followed by an interesting and vivid discussion. Within this discussion the speakers dealt with numerous question raised by members of the audience and had the chance to deepen particular aspects of their presentations.

"The reform of consumer privacy" - discussion evening of the Humboldt Law Clinic für Internetrecht and the Humboldt Consumer Law Clinic

On Tuesday, 3 May 2016, the Humboldt Law Clinic für Internetrecht (HLCI) and the Humboldt Consumer Law Clinic (HCLC) organized a joint discussion evening on the "law on the improvement of the private law enforcement of consumer protecting provisions of data protection law" that came into force on 24 February 2016. The reform was considered from a data protection law and a consumer law perspective.

The speakers were Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Forgó (Leibniz University Hannover), Dr. Carsten Hayungs (BMJV) and Dr. Carlo Piltz (JBB Rechtsanwälte).