School of Law

Credit and Debt: Protecting The Vulnerable In Europe

April 2008 - March 2011

As recent problems in the financial markets underscore access to credit and the treatment of indebtedness are increasingly important issues.

Among the questions asked in this context:

  • can and should financial services be more easily traded across borders?
  • will credit and debt prove the Achilles' heel of the economy or the spur for growth?
  • where should protective instruments for vulnerable consumers be located?
  • what is or should be their content and can or should protection be harmonised?

While the Commission has argued for a single market in financial services (2005 White Paper/Financial Services), for greater coherence in EC consumer law (2007 Green Paper/Consumer Acquis) and contract law in general (2004 Communication/Contract law), financial services' markets, measures of consumer protection and EC contract law remain highly fragmented.

This project, funded by a Marie Curie Research Grant, aims to tackle these issues from a legal perspective.

It uses a comparative study of the instruments protecting the vulnerable consumers from the full extent of his/her contractual obligations; instruments which vary from one Member State to the next but which centre on the instruments of undue influence, unconscionabilty and good faith.

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