|dc.description.abstract||In the consumer society, as it stands today in Western-type democracies, consumers
have a far larger choice of products and services originating from all over the world
than they did decades ago. Risks associated with products and services have also
increased, as have mass problems and mass damages, often in a transborder dimension.
The US and the European Community, though battling against common problems,
maintain different standard setting and enforcement regimes. This paper focuses on
enforcement regimes, thereby distinguishing between administrative enforcement via
agencies and judicial collective enforcement via European collective actions and US
class actions. The existing theoretical framework depicting administrative and judicial
enforcement as alternative strategies is contrasted against modern developments in the
US and the EC.
In the field of consumer protection administrative control and judicial collective
enforcement are being understood more as functional complements than alternatives.
Enforcement covers negotiation, settlement, adjudication and arbitration. The analysis
of the institutional variables determining the choice between administrative and judicial
control – ex ante vs. ex post control, injunctive relief versus damages, personal injuries
and economic losses, sector specificity vs. general instruments to protect consumers,
public agencies vs. private organisations – provide the ground for preliminary thoughts
on a revised theoretical approach.||en