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Institute for Competition and Consumers (ICC)

The Limits of Consumer Empowerment in times of crisis: how to empower consumers while protecting the vulnerable?

When: Friday, April 21, 2023, 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Where: Online

This event is the Innaugural conference of the The Institute for Competition and Consumers (ICC), Queen Mary University of London.

High Impact, Low Probability events such as the covid crisis or the war in Ukraine have tested the reflexes of competition and consumer laws in empowering consumers, while protecting the most vulnerable. The rise of the digital economy with its inherent attributes, namely digitalisation, datafication and interconnection, have equally exacerbated consumer biases and vulnerabilities. ‘New’ consumer rights in the digital economy, such as the right to data portability, can contribute to consumer empowerment, bridging thus apparent gaps in competition and consumer protection laws. Yet, these rights do not do away with inherent problems of consumer biases and vulnerabilities. A response to these problems should lie in a synergetic approach to enforcement in regulated markets, encouraging the cooperation between different regulators, civil society and international organisations.

This ICC inaugural conference aims to reflect on the role and limits of competition law in empowering consumers as well as protecting vulnerable consumers in times of fast changing market dynamics. Equally, it will question the role of consumer law in empowering and protecting consumers and examine potential synergies between the two frameworks.


  • Inge Bernaerts, Director for Strategy and Policy - DG Competition, European Commission, EU
  • Jason Freeman, Director, Consumer Law, Director, Consumer Law · Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), UK
  • Teresa Moreira, Head of the Competition and Consumer Policies Branch, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), UN
  • Nievia Ramsundar, Executive Director, CARICOM Competition Commission, Caribbean Community
  • Agustin Reyna, Director of Legal and Economic Affairs, The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC)


  • Iris Benöhr, Deputy Director for Consumers, ICC, Queen Mary
  • Maria Ioannidou, Deputy Director for Competition, ICC, Queen Mary


  • Eyad Dabbah, ICC, Queen Mary

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