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Christoph Struenck

Chapter 9 by Christoph Struenck deals with regulation by litigation as a form of empowerment. Do consumers and companies increasingly litigate to better enforce or even create consumer rights? This trend may empower individual citizens as consumers vis-à-vis companies, or the other way around. In the process, however, national democratically accountable political actors might lose power, and hence their voters. Nevertheless, there is barely evidence on public interest litigation in the European Union. In this chapter, patterns of consumer litigation are scrutinized. Relying on the framework of adversarial legalism, frequencies, goals, resources and achievements of litigation in six member states are highlighted. Contrary to influential concepts of ‘Eurolegalism’, public interest litigation in Europe is still very much entangled in national institutions. However, public interest litigation is no equivalent for comprehensive policy making. What it can best achieve is enforcing rights better, thereby raising awareness and saliency. This is an alternative way to empower citizens.