European Consumer Law

  • Summer schools
  • LSE Summer School
  • LSE code SS-LL212
  • Starting TBC
  • Short course: Closed
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

Please note: This course has not yet been confirmed for 2021.

Consumer law regulates our daily transactions and activities, with privatisation, technological advancement and related trends meaning that more of our lives are lived through consumer contracts. Consumer law also regulates an enormous field of economic activity, with household spending accounting for over 50% of GDP in most OECD economies. This course offers a unique opportunity to study the rules and regulations governing the consumer markets that are central to our contemporary economic system. This course welcomes students of a wide range of disciplines, who can display an interest in history, law or the social sciences more broadly. We encourage applicants looking to analyse what it means to be a consumer and the nature and structure of consumer markets in our current climate.

This intensive Summer School course offers a unique opportunity for students of any discipline to study aspects of contract, commercial, sales, banking and financial law and how key contemporary problems of economic stagnation, inequality and political instability can all in some ways be linked to problems arising in consumer markets as increasingly important sites of legal and political activity.

The course begins by discussing key principles and theoretical ideas of consumer market regulation. We consider the nature and structure of consumer markets, examining the institutions and sources that create the ground rules of markets. The course then considers the various tools available to policymakers and how we can design market interventions. This involves questions of how consumer law is made, applied, and enforced.

This is a course that has strong ties to contemporary, real-world problems and encourages students to place themselves as actors within case studies as we work to generate policy proposals in response to your personal perspectives on rules, principles and policies of consumer market regulation. This practical focus offers value to lawyers seeking to quickly gain an up-to-date knowledge of the dynamic field of consumer law, at a time of significant change in this area – especially in the context of Brexit, as questions arise as to the future for UK consumers as policymakers decide on how their rights will change on the UK’s departure from the EU.

This course is interdisciplinary and international in nature and would be of interest to students from various jurisdictions and both legal and non-legal backgrounds. Study of the regulation of retail markets should be of relevance to those working in law, finance, compliance, and regulatory affairs – whether in private practice, government, or NGOs.

Session: TBC
Dates: TBC
Lecturers: Dr Joseph Spooner, Dr Paul MacMahon, Dr Emmanuel Voyiakis



Programme details

Key facts

Level: 200 level. Read more information on levels in our FAQs

Fees:  Please see Fees and payments

Lectures: 36 hours 

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: One examination and one essay

Typical credit**: 3-4 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)

*Assessment is optional

**You will need to check with your home institution

For more information on exams and credit, read Teaching and assessment


At least one introductory course in either social science (e.g. political science, international relations, sociology, economics), history or law.

The course is academic in nature and will be of value to law students wishing to study consumer law. It will be inter-disciplinary in nature, and so students from non-law backgrounds should also find the course accessible and useful. The course is also designed to be valuable at a practical level to those working (or hoping to work) in government and public policy, private practice (legal, financial, corporate) and the third sector. The course is international in nature and scope, meaning that its content should be of interest to candidates from many jurisdictions.


Programme structure

-    General Part

  • Consumers and Consumer Markets: structures, institutions, definitions, sources (national, European, international)
  • Rationales for Regulating Consumer Markets
  • The Consumer Regulatory Toolkit
  • Making Consumer Law
  • Dispute Resolution and Consumer Law Enforcement

 Special Topics

  • Consumer Contracts and Unfair Terms
  • Business Conduct: Advertising and Unfair Commercial Practices in Consumer Markets
  • Consumer Safety: Product Liability
  • Product Quality: Sales Law
  • Consumer Financial Protection: Consumer Credit Regulation and Bankruptcy


Course outcomes

By the end of the course, students should aim to:

-       Describe the key characteristics of a selection of relevant types of transactions made between consumers and businesses; and describe the legal principles and/or rules which regulate such transactions

-       Discuss and demonstrate awareness of theoretical frameworks which inform and shape consumer law and policy

-       Apply (and recognise effective applications of) theories of consumer law and policy to particular categories of consumer transactions

-       Apply (and recognise effective applications of) knowledge of legal principles and rules, as well as knowledge of the consumer contexts in which such principles/rules operate, to factual scenarios.

-       Evaluate the law’s role in regulating consumer transactions, in particular reflecting on the appropriateness of standard principles of private law (traditional contract law, insolvency law) in regulating business to consumer relationships

-       Form opinions and personal perspectives on rules, principles and policies of consumer market regulation, and generate policy proposals



LSE’s Law Department is one of the world’s best. In the UK, it was ranked first for research outputs in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) and in the top 5 law departments overall by The Complete University Guide in 2018. In the 2017 QS World University rankings, the Department was ranked seventh (out of 200 departments worldwide).

Many important subjects were first taught and examined systematically from an academic perspective in LSE’s Department of Law. We pioneered the study of banking law, taxation law, civil litigation, company law, labour law, family law, aspects of welfare law, and studies of the legal system and the legal profession, and continue to be the leading thinkers in our field.

On this three-week intensive programme, you will engage with and learn from full-time lecturers from the LSE’s law faculty.

Reading materials

  • Geraint Howells, Iain Ramsay, and Thomas Wilhelmsson (eds.), Handbook of Research on International Consumer Law, (2nd edition, Elgar 2018).
  • Iain Ramsay, Consumer Law and Policy: Text and Materials on Regulating Consumer Markets, (3rd revised edition, Hart Publishing 2012).
  • Geraint Howells, Christian Twigg-Flesner and Thomas Wilhelmsson, Rethinking EU Consumer Law, (1st edition, Routledge 2017).
  • Hans Micklitz, Norbert Reich, Peter Rott, Klaus Tonner, European Consumer Law, (2nd edition, Intersentia 2014)
  • OECD (2010), Consumer Policy Toolkit, OECD Publishing, Paris.
  • Oren Bar-Gill, Seduction by Contract: Law, Economics, and Psychology in Consumer Markets, (OUP, Oxford 2012).

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