The Development of Consumer Protection Policy from Roman Law to Modern European Union Law

Keywords: consumer, consumer protection, consumer rights, consumer protection policy


The article examines the development of consumer protection policy from the most ancient historical acts to modern legal acts of the European Union. The key laws of the Roman Empire in the field of consumer protection have been studied, among which the main ones are: «Lex Iulia de Annona», «Edictum de pretiis rerum venalium — Edict of maximum prices», «Civil Code» of Emperor Justinian. It is determined that the studied legislative acts were the first attempts to consolidate the protection of the rights of buyers (consumers). Roman law, which became the basis of modern legal systems in Europe and many non-European countries, has not lost its relevance. Ancient Roman laws are compared with the modern practice of the European Union. The history of the emergence of consumer law in the European Community is considered, which is divided into three key stages from the establishment of the European Community to modern EU policy. It is determined that at the beginning of its creation the EU policy of consumer protection was considered as an element of ensuring the sustainable operation of the internal market. The key constituent acts of the Union are considered, among which the Treaty of Rome of 1957, the Single European Act of 1987, the Treaty of Amsterdam of 1997 and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union of 2000 are highlighted. The analysis of Art. 2 of the Treaty of Rome stipulates that one of the key goals — protection and improvement of living standards was interpreted also as consumer protection. This strategy was later strengthened by the Amsterdam Treaty of 1997, which identified the promotion of a high level of consumer protection as one of the Community’s tasks. The current EU policy in the field of consumer protection, which is aimed at updating legislation in accordance with modern realities, is studied. Among the key acts of secondary law is the EU Directive № 2019/2161, which focuses on better application and modernization of legislation on consumer protection and amends existing EU directives. It is determined that the current consumer protection policy in the EU ensures the proper and effective functioning of the single market through constant updating of legislation taking into account social, technological, economic and environmental changes.


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International Law