This book charts the difficulties encountered by vulnerable consumers in their access to justice, through the contributions of prominent authors (academic, practitioners and consultants) in the field of consumer law and access to justice.

It demonstrates that despite the development of ADR, access to justice is still severely lacking for the vulnerable consumer. The book highlights that a broad understanding of access to justice, which encompasses good regulation and its public enforcement, is an essential ingredient alongside access to the mechanisms of traditional private justice (courts and ADR) to protect the vulnerable consumer. Indeed, many of the difficulties are linked to normative obstacles and lack of access to justice is primarily a vulnerability in itself that can exacerbate existing ones. In addition, because it may contribute to ‘pushing’ already vulnerable consumers into social exclusion it is not simply about economic justice but also about social justice.

The book shows that lack of access to justice is not irreversible nor is it necessarily linked to consumer apathy. New technologies could provide solutions. The book concludes with a plea for developing ‘inclusive’ justice systems with more emphasis on public enforcement alongside effective courts systems to offer the vulnerable with adequate means to defend themselves.

This book will be suitable for both students and practitioners, and all those with an interest in the justice system.

chapter 2|14 pages

Economic theory and consumer vulnerability

Exploring an uneasy relationship

chapter 3|20 pages

A universal perspective on vulnerability

International definitions and targets

chapter 4|17 pages

The legal definition of ‘vulnerable’ consumers in the UCPD

Benefits and limitations of a focus on personal attributes

chapter 5|17 pages

Vulnerable consumers in financial services and access to justice

The regulatory response

chapter 6|17 pages

Regulating the consumer credit market

Protecting vulnerable consumers

chapter 11|16 pages

ODR and access to justice for vulnerable consumers

The case of the EU ODR Platform

chapter 15|16 pages

The way forward

For an ‘inclusive’ access to justice to protect vulnerable consumers