Ius Commune Conference 2017: Workshop on Liability and Insurance

By Dr. William Bull, Doris Beganovic and Stefan Cîrjan


The annual Ius Commune Conference was held this year in Utrecht on 23-24 November 2017 and comprised various workshops, one of which was on the subject of ‘Liability and Insurance’. The theme of this workshop was ‘The legal battle against lawful products or services that are potentially threatening to human health’. The workshop was chaired by Anne Keirse; professor of Private Law at Utrecht University and a judge at the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam.

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A first but steady step towards a vision of technology and legal data

On the 17th January 2018, a think tank meeting between the Faculty of Law, the Institute of Data Science and the Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering took place at our Faculty. The event had a significant adherence by members of all the faculties, institutes and departments involved, showing the commitment of the University of Maastricht to become an eminent point of reference in the field of digital disruption and data. The intensively productive, interdisciplinary workshop consisted of individual pitch sessions, a breakout group session and a final, summary and action items short session.

Throughout the event, a lot of “food for thought” was served. Organising terminology training for the faculty’s academic staff, using automation in case law analysis and offering courses on formal reasoning, logic, and general application of AI to our students were just a few of the ideas that were shared and further discussed during the networking drink offered by the organisers. In a nutshell, this was a first, but very steady step towards a very strong interfaculty cooperation around an overarching vision of technology and legal data.

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Think Tank meeting on data and digital disruption at the Faculty of Law of the Maastricht University

On Wednesday 17 January 2018, members from the Faculty of Law, the Institute for Data Science and the Department of Knowledge Engineering will gather in a Think Tank meeting, which is aimed at getting to know each other’s research interests and activities and to explore opportunities for collaboration in the field of data and digital disruption. The meeting, which will include short, individual pitch sessions and pitch breakouts, will take place from 14:30 – 17:30 in Room B0.118 of the Faculty of Law.​ Jan Smits and Michel Dumontier (IDS) will deliver the opening keynote addresses.

For further information, please contact Marta Santos Silva (m.santossilva@maastrichtuniversity.nl)

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M-EPLI Talk with Dr. Sofia Ranchordás: “Online Reputation and Information Asymmetries”

By Dr. William Bull and Doris Beganovic (ELS Bachelor student)


On the 25th of October 2017, Maastricht European Private Law Institute had the honour of welcoming Dr. Sofia Ranchordás, professor at both Leiden and Groningen Law School, to give a talk about Online Reputation and Information Asymmetries, with an emphasis on providing a critical account of reputational feedback in the platform economy.

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The Volkswagen Emissions Scandal: Will it become a matter of European contract law?

By Dr. Anna Beckers


In the past two years, I have worked on the legal consequences of the Volkswagen scandal. I have focused here and here primarily on whether the corporate social responsibility policy of Volkswagen, in which the company has outlined its commitment to environmental protection, can have legal consequences under EU private law. To that end, I predicted that the EU unfair commercial practices directive has the potential to remedy the detrimental consequences for consumers. Ella Rosenberg has argued on the MEPLI blog in a similar direction.

In the meantime, much has happened in the context of the Volkswagen consumer litigation that has made me revisit this prediction. It seems that the focus on false advertisement law has materialised in the United States. This February, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission reached a far-reaching settlement in favour of consumers. The company has to fully compensate misled consumers through a combination of repair, monetary compensation and buy-backs. But, in the Member States of the EU, the experience with the use of unfair commercial practices law appears to have been mixed. The Italian competition authority fined Volkswagen for unfair commercial practices after an emissions test had been conducted by the consumer organisation Altroconsumo, but this remains the only successful action in the EU so far (according to the European Consumer Organisation BEUC).  And even in Italy, the consequence was a fine for the company without the added effect that consumers have their losses compensated or receive confiscated profits (this is subject to separate proceedings).

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