Study on consumers’ attitudes vis-à-vis the Consumer Mediation Service in Belgium
Jos Hoevenaars was interviewed for the Dutch magazine for the legal profession ‘Het Advocatenblad’ about his insight into the experiences of lawyers who find themselves litigating before the European Court of Justice after their case is referred though a reference for a preliminary ruling. In the interview (freely translated: ‘Court of Justice? Experience Needed!’) he discusses his empirical research among Dutch lawyers and paints a picture of generally overwhelmed professionals scrambling for assistance among EU law scholars, while making the best of their opportunity to plead before the ECJ, often in opposition to a group of well-trained EU law experts appearing on behalf of intervening Member States. His work on the reference procedure highlight the inequality in representation before the ECJ and its potential negative impact on the Court’s caselaw and its national consequences.
Published: July 10, 2019
The research investigated consumers' attitudes and expectations when they engage with the Consumer Mediation Service (Service de Médiation pour le Consommateur/Consumentenombudsdienst), which is the public residual ADR entity acting in Belgium. The study focused on the situation of consumers with uncomplete files submitted in 2018 and was conducted by ERC researchers at Erasmus University, in collaboration with the Consumer Mediation Service and KU Leuven. It was based on an online survey completed by approx. 340 consumers. The report formulates several policy recommendations for futher improving the work and functioning of the Ombudsman. Results are available here, both in French and Dutch.