Welcome to my blog!

Here, I share my thoughts on topics of interest. Don’t forget to sign up for updates from us using the sidebar to the right and please get in touch if you have a specific need.

Alone you can go fast, together we can go further!

BEUC’s Consumer PRO motto rings an important bell in our minds. They remind us that collaboration is essential!

Capacity building is an important concept. The laws have changed hugely (view our past posts). They are now more favourable to consumers while clarifying certain obligations for traders and harmonising the rules on consumer protection.

The training in 2020 covered general consumer protection updates as well as the digital rights aspect of the EU consumer law framework. In 2022, another arm was added – the promulgation of the Representative Actions Directive.

Consumer PRO was an initiative aimed at building capacity within consumer organisations in the EU. This was an initiative of the European Commission and EISMEA implemented by BEUC.

The aim is to enhance the diversity and scope for a healthy cross-fertilisation of ideas, the Best Practice Seminar is open to everyone involved in the Consumer Pro project, including Consumer Organisations, National and Regional Authorities and European Consumer Centres (ECC) in the EU, Norway, and Iceland. The Best Practice Seminar is also open to other Consumer Professionals working in the field for whom the seminar would be interested.

The aim was to improve the strategic planning in consumer law. The two rounds of training (2020 and 2022) each included about 60 participants and many of these have gone on to give their training to their national groups. In total, some 2080 consumer professionals took part – whether directly, or through the national training seminars organised by the national trainers. The country with most participants was the Czech Republic. Malta being a small jurisdiction, had around 20 participants for the first round in 2020, and around 9 in 2022.

In 2020, the focus for the Malta training was general consumer rights but a short session was held on digital rights too. The 2022 training focused, once again, on general consumer rights but gave more time to the digital rights training since this appears to be an area where professionals lack training or knowledge. A further session on collective redress was also held but since this legislation is not well known, there is much that remains a question mark.

Celebrate – the BEUC wanted to celebrate daily work that might not always get public applause but that is the pulse of consumer protection.

Cultivate – learning, building capacity and learning continuously. This is also looking at how AI affects consumers and how this is affecting the ability of professionals to assist their clients. Inter-generational projects could be set up so as to help the shift from the traditional mode of doing business, to AI mode.

Collaborate – the seminar(s) were designed for consumer organisations and professionals to work together and with the BEUC to produce more results.

Watch this space for updates!

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Representative Actions Directive – the deadline is coming soon!

The Representative Actions Directive comes into force half way through 2023 and the deadline for implementation by EU Member States is at the end of this year.

Malta has just launched a public consultation – which ends on the 25th November – and it is hardly likely that the law will be adopted be on time.

Not new to Maltese Law!

There already is a Collective Procedures Act – Chapter 520 of the Laws of Malta – which contemplates a number of collective actions. The Bill seeks to limit the actions under that law to competition claims, while the new bill itself will deal with collective actions tackling consumer redress. The adequacy or otherwise of this proposal, in terms of compliance with EU law, will remain to be seen.


The Directive (RAD) empowers qualified entities to file actions on behalf of individuals entitled to claim. This is in contrast with (and intending to move away from) the US model where a head plaintiff files a case on behalf of several other plaintiff.

The EU is seeking to move away from ‘class actions’ as certain features of the US legal system have given rise to negative connotations around this. Examples would include: punitive damages, pre-trail discoveries and blackmail. The EU seeks to control abusive litigation by certain safeguards being placed in the RAD.

Qualified Entities

Qualified entities will have to choose whether they will deal with purely domestic actions or those with an international aspect (i.e. where they file claims in States other than where they are based). In the latter case they will have to meet the checklist established by the Commission to qualify as an entity that can bring actions of this type. Those entities limiting themselves to domestic claims may still need to meet criteria that are in line with those in the Directive.

The financing of the claim remains a bone of contention. Some consumer organisations may find this a daunting process even without the money aspect. The Bill seeks to exonerate the entities from paying registry fees upon filing, while reducing heavily those fees if the claim is lost.

Many of the Malta organisations may well find themselves struggling in the event of a consumer claim. Examples could be: lack of funding for lawyers (prior to the claim), small membership, lack of young members who might be willing to take on very large cases.

Malta chose to use the opt-in method. A consumer must select to be included as part of the Claim. We still need to see how pro-active consumers will be in joining claims where the benefit is not very significant.

Reactions to the Public Consultation?

The open consultation is worth reading – collective redress is not new to the Maltese legal system and there have been court cases that welcomed it and even interpreted the powers of the court, within those claims, in a rather wide fashion.

Seminar / Workshop on the RAD

I will be giving training on the directive and its implementation – with reference to the Malta situation – over this week. It will be an intensive three mornings of discussions, contributions and learning for all and sundry!

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Malta and its Maritime Policies

Malta’s maritime policies are gaining momentum! Read more to find out what I’ve been doing.

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Sanctioned Russian Oligarch wins right to use yacht on the French Riviera

A sanctioned Russian oligarch has won the right to use his yacht on the French Riviera. Rather, he has successfully challenged French customs due to a number of errors made in the procedure when they boarded the yacht.

The EU sanctions apply across EU member states. French customs authorities are reported to have failed to follow the correct procedures. The court ordered the release of the yacht.

Read the article here.

A superyacht lies at anchor.
Image taken from stock - (C) Shutterstock
A superyacht – image from stock.

Legal professionals from different parts of the world have argued that individuals facing such sanctions should succeed in these challenges. Assets are being seized without due process of law. Further, these seizures are taking effect without following any proper court process.

Clearly, there could be a deprivation of the right to one’s own property, without the proper court case to establish whether anyone has committed a crime.

These actions, merely on the basis that an individual has links to (in this case) the Russian government, appear to constitute a right about turn from the fundamental human right to property. This is arguable. The use of wealth to continue to back up the atrocities of war remains worrying. Sanctions of this type might be the only way to stop this practice.

What do you make of these stances and the worldwide seizure of assets of these Russian individuals?

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Malta Maritime Summit

The Malta Maritime Summit is happening this week and I’ve been invited to speak!

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