From 28 October to 01 November 2019, the Sino-German Legal Cooperation Programme, together with the China Consumers Association (CCA), organized a study trip to Germany on the topic of consumer protection law. Led by Mr Li Yuanguang, Deputy Head Secretary of the CCA, the five-person delegation visited institutions in Berlin and Frankfurt and took part in specialist discussions on the legal issues surrounding consumer protection. The background to the trip was the participation in the international symposium “New Paths to Effective Consumer Protection” organized by the Federal Ministry for Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV), as well as a knowledge-exchange with relevant institutions in German on class action suits and consumer protection.
The Symposium took place from 28 to 29 October 2019 in Berlin, in addition to the CCA, other participants included the BMVJ, the Ministry of Justice and Public Security of Brazil (MJSP), the Center for European Consumer Protection (ZEV), the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (vzbz), as well as representatives of science and industry. During the two-day symposium the participants addressed and closely discussed the topics “The Instruments for the Enforcement of Consumer Rights”, “The Challenges for Consumer Protection in Online Trade”, and “Online Dispute Resolution and Legal Tech”.
Following the conclusion of the symposium the delegation visited the BMJV on 30 October 2019 and took part in a specialist discussion with Dr Heike Gehrke, Head of the VA1 Department. With reference to the responsibility of the BMJV, the Special Advisor explained the framework conditions of consumer protection in Germany and how consumers exercise their rights through civil law and the authorities.
The delegation then met with Ms Swetlana Schaworonkowa, Special Advisor in Department 1 of the German Federal Law Society (BRAK) and Dr Lene Kohl, Senior Counsel at Osborne Clarke. Swetlana Schaworonkowa gave a brief introduction to the BRAK, while Dr Lene Kohl gave a presentation on the enforcement of consumer rights in Germany from a lawyer’s perspective, in particular on the problems of class action suits and model declaratory proceedings, as well as on innovative solutions to these problems.
In Frankfurt the delegation met Ms Katharina Lawrence, Special Advisor for the coordination of financial services, and early warning network officer of the “Market Watchdog” departments ‘finances’, ‘digital world’, and ‘energy’ for the Hesse Consumer Protection Office and learned about the responsibilities and working methods of the Hesse Consumer Protection Office.