Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Geraint Howells, Iain Ramsay, Thomas Wihelmsson and David Kraft
Chapter 1: Consumer Law in its International Dimension
Geraint Howells, Iain Ramsay and Thomas Wilhelmsson 1. Why a handbook on international consumer law? Consumer law on its current scale is a relatively modern phenomenon. It is linked to the development of the consumer society and the rise of the regulatory state. One of the intriguing aspects of consumer law is that whilst consumers are often situated in a vulnerable position in the market structure and face similar problems in most market economies, nevertheless, consumer law has in its national manifestation to take account of local legal, social and cultural traditions. However, whilst the particular policy responses to the problems consumers face may differ depending on local context, many of the actual problems facing consumers replicate themselves throughout the global economy. There are also forces promoting the search for common approaches to consumer problems. Consumer markets are in many aspects increasingly globalised: the same products are marketed with similar marketing efforts all over the globe. This is underpinned by the increasing development of norms and standards on a regional or international basis and by the growth in crossborder consumer sales spawned by the internet. Being aware of the possible models of legal response so that an appropriate selection of consumer protection tools can be made is necessary for those creating, administering and studying consumer laws. This book seeks to provide an entry point into the study of a wide array of consumer topics and thus promote awareness of the options for legally protecting consumers. It seeks to throw light...
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