Chris Willett, ‘Re-Theorising Consumer Law’

This article develops a new theoretical framework for understanding consumer contract law, one based on competing ethics of self-interest/reliance and need. It shows how this is a better way of understanding choices as to levels of protection than the traditional ‘freedom versus fairness’ framework. The self-interest/reliance ethic favours rules allowing traders to use processes to escape responsibility for poor quality and harsh outcomes, while the need ethic is concerned with consumer weaknesses and better protects against such outcomes. The article also shows that need-based rules are usually more effective at improving clarity and certainty, and where such rules cause uncertainty, at least as much uncertainty is caused by the alternative self-interest/reliance-based rules.

Chris Willett, Re-Theorising Consumer Law, Cambridge Law Journal, Volume 77, Issue 1, March 2018, pp 179-210.

First posted 2018-03-21 13:59:51

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