Raising Awareness on Access to Justice
Raising Awareness on Access to Justice


2012 10 30

Lithuanian Consumer Institute organizes seminars to increase awareness on access to justice in a cross-border context

On October 23, Lithuanian Consumer Institute organized the first in a series of seminars aimed to increase awareness of the European Order of Payment and European Small Claims Procedure, new EU-wide regulations aimed to facilitate consumer access to justice and make resolution of cross-border trade disputes easier. 

Dr. Laura Gumuliauskienė, a lawyer with long expertise in cross-border dispute resolution, who was one of the seminar presenters, spoke extensively on both procedures, how they are implemented and what they have to offer consumers in cases when their rights are violated by sellers in another EU Member State. Participants had an opportunity not only to expand their theoretical knowledge but also carry out practical tasks and discuss the problems of the actual implementation of the procedures in Lithuania and other EU countries. 

Gabrielė Gaubienė, lawyer advisor at the European Consumer Centre (ECC), shared the experience of helping consumers to deal with cross-border disputes. According to her, from 2005 until 2012, 40 percent of consumer complaints received by the Lithuanian office of ECC were related to electronic commerce, while 33 percent were connected with air travel. Gaubienė shared one success story how a Lithuanian family, whose things including documents and money had been stolen from a safe in their hotel room during vacations in Malta, had a lengthy and unsuccessful dispute with hotel administration but finally managed to get compensation from them through the European Small Claims procedure. 

During the seminar, two short films, created by the Lithuanian Consumer Institute, were shown. Based on real facts and practices, the films presented practical information about the two procedures in an uncomplicated and easy-to-memorize manner. 

About thirty participants, most of whom are practicing lawyers, actively participated in discussions, shared their experience and drew attention to problematic parts how the new regulations were implemented. Each seminar participant received a certificate indicating participation in the seminar.

The following seminars on the subject will take place on 16, 22 and 27 of November and 5 of December.

The seminars and films have been made possible as part of the project funded by the European Commission’s Civil Justice Programme (2007 – 2013) and realized by the Lithuanian Consumer Institute in cooperation with Bulgarian National Consumers Association “Active Consumers”. More information about the project events and materials can be found at http://www.vartotojai.lt/en/civil-justice. 

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