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Study information

(European) Consumer Law

Module title(European) Consumer Law
Module codeLAW2091
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Professor Joasia Luzak (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

All of us are consumers. Most of us do not know our consumer rights. In this course, we will study consumer protection measures, which have been adopted in the UK due to the influence of EU law, e.g. consumer protection: against unfairness (misleading advertising; adhesion contracts); in popular consumer contracts (in the sale and travel sector); through performance standards (product safety and liability); and its enforcement (private, public, ADR, ODR). During seminars we will analyse the effectiveness of the adopted measures, partially through insights from behavioural economics. Therefore, this module is for students interested in interdisciplinary studies, various areas of private law (contract, tort) and EU law.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims at providing you with a thorough understanding of the consumer protection issues that led to the adoption of specific rules in the area of contract law. The focus of the course will be on the development of EU consumer law and policy that guided UK law-making in the area of consumer protection, which is unlikely to be influenced by Brexit. Since consumer behaviour should influence consumer policymaking, you will be introduced to the interplay between findings of consumer behaviour and adopted consumer protection measures. The module aims to give you the necessary legal, theoretical and contextual background in order to analyse effectively the rationales, application and limits of consumer protection measures. This is relevant for both academic purposes and the ability to engage critically with law in context, which is significant not only for future legal practice (consumer law allows you to better understand commercial parties’ obligations towards their customers), but also for ensuring that you know your rights as a consumer and are able to enforce them and advise others in your environment on these issues.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. demonstrate good knowledge and understanding of the main areas of European consumer law;
  • 2. identify and explain the main legal instruments of European consumer protection and their interpretation given in the case law of the European Court of Justice;
  • 3. demonstrate awareness of some social, moral, pragmatic and economic implications of regulating European consumer law;
  • 4. identify and discuss the principal rules and theories relating to consumer protection.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of legal concepts, values, principles, institutions and procedures, and explain the relationships among them;
  • 6. demonstrate knowledge of legal concepts and their contextual, social and commercial implications;
  • 7. apply legal knowledge to a problem/ case study and discuss it;
  • 8. select and explain relevant information from primary and secondary legal sources using appropriate interpretative techniques.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 9. manage relevant learning resources/information and develop your own arguments and opinions with some guidance;
  • 10. communicate effectively and accurately in a manner appropriate to the discipline.

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • introduction to the issues of consumer protection in context (relation contract-consumer law; competition – consumer law; the role of consumer behaviour; harmonisation of consumer law; consumer notions; concept of mixed contracts; average and vulnerable consumers);
  • issues revolving around the consumer contract’s conclusion; discussion of consumer protection against unfair commercial practices;
  • issues of consumer protection in conclusion of contracts with regard to adhesion contracts, standard terms and conditions; examination of the concept of unfairness of contract terms, as well as the consequences of such unfairness;
  • regulation with regard to the conclusion of specific, popular consumer contracts, such as contracts of sale and contracts pertaining to travel; information rights, right of withdrawal, non-conformity and individual remedies; air passenger rights; package travel;
  • consumer protection when the deal goes wrong; regulations with regard to product safety and liability as well as with regard to enforcement of consumer rights.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities2211 x 2 hour lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities64 x 1.5 hour seminars
Guided independent study42Individual reading and lecture preparation
Guided independent study20Seminar preparation
Guided independent study20Formative assessment preparation
Guided independent study 40Summative assessment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1,250 words1-10Written and oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1002,500 words (two parts: a) describing a consumer protection issue (40% of the essay mark), and b) analysing the consumer protection framework aiming to address it (60% of essay mark)1-10Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (2,500 words; as above)1-10August/September reassessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

For each week, a reading list is posted on ELE indicating the mandatory and recommended reading materials, which may be looked up either in the CURIA database (see link below) or through the University of Exeter Library databases.

These textbooks may provide you with some general knowledge on consumer protection:

T Wilhelmsson & G Howells, Consumer Law (Edward Elgar 2019)

Ch Twigg-Flesner, Research Handbook on EU Consumer and Contract Law (Edward Elgar 2016)

N Reich et al, European Consumer Law (2nd ed, Intersentia 2014)

S Weatherill, EU Consumer Law and Policy (2nd ed, Edward Elgar 2014)

I Ramsay, Consumer Law and Policy (3rd Ed, Hart 2012)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

case law of the CJEU will be assigned for every lecture and workshop 

Indicative learning resources - Other resources


Key words search

Consumer law; contract law; European law; behavioural economics; private law; law in context

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

The Law of Contract

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date