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Empirical Legal Studies

An empirical examination of consumer law

This project aims to answer legally relevant questions in the field of consumer law by means of empirical research.

The research line focuses on the assumptions underlying consumer law, consumer law in action and the effects of consumer law in practice. What are the legal difficulties in (online) consumer protection and how should these be dealt with, viewed from an empirical legal perspective? Part of this research line is the creation of an edited volume on Empirics & Consumer Law.

Included projects:

The ConsumerID project challenges the one-size-fits-all model of consumer laws. Consumer's shoes no longer fit!

Digitalisation, platformisation and sustainability demand a new approach. This project breaks new ground by deconstructing the notion of the consumer as a weaker party, and by providing a basis for reconstructing consumer laws along the lines of a contextual approach to consumer protection.

By retaining one consumer image in regulation, which considers the consumer as a weaker party in relation to businesses and aids her by providing information, European consumer law has become unable to keep up. The Consumer ID project aims to determine in what respects a transformation of the consumer image can lead to better-fitting regulation and policies. 

It does so through a combination of comparative legal research, identity philosophy, insights from behavioural studies, and empirical research through stakeholder surveys and interviews. The project focuses on consumer laws in Europe, using Germany, France, Poland, the Netherlands and Sweden as representative systems in the EU. Findings may be transposed to other parts of the world.

The project consists of several subprojects. Some are done or assisted by our very own lab members. These projects are:

  • The prosumer: a consumer moving from demand to supply

This subproject focuses on the ‘prosumption’ of goods, a movement facilitated by platformisation of the economy. Does regulation of private law relationships in the current platform economy require an introduction of a ‘prosumer’ category with rules tailored to it, instead of separating them into ‘consumer’ and ‘trader’? Should a possible power imbalance between platform, prosumer and consumer be addressed by liability law? Are there alternative means of protecting prosumers besides the law?

Read more about the project here.

  • The consumer-citizen: How can the legal image of the consumer be reconceived in light of their shared pursuit for sustainability?

​​​​​​​This subproject seeks to discover the changing status of consumers as societal actors, sharing responsibility with governments and the private sector in their pursuit of sustainability.

Read more about the project here.


  • Veldt G.M. (2023), Empirische fundamenten van het personele toepassingsbereik van het productaansprakelijkheidsvoorstel in relatie tot e-commerce, Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Burgerlijk Recht 2023(9): 375-387 (NTBR 2023/41).
  • Veldt G.M. & Verbruggen P.W.J. (2023), Themanummer ‘De Richtlijn Productaansprakelijkheid Revisited’: Een inleiding, Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Burgerlijk Recht 2023(9): 349-355 (NTBR 2023/38).
  • Veldt G.M. & Verbruggen P.W.J. (2023), Gastredacteur: Themanummer ‘De Richtlijn Productaansprakelijkheid Revisited’. Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Burgerlijk Recht 2023(9).
  • Veldt G.M. (2023), The New Product Liability Proposal – Fit for the Digital Age or in Need of Shaping Up?: An Analysis of the Draft Product Liability Directive, Journal of European Consumer and Market Law 12(1): 24-31.
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