Portrait of Professor Iain Ramsay

Professor Iain Ramsay

Professor of Law


Professor Iain Ramsay holds law degrees from the University of Edinburgh and Mcgill University, Montreal, Canada and has taught in both England and Canada. From 1986-2007 he was a Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto, Canada. He has been a visiting Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Tokyo, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan, the University of Sydney, and a Visiting Fellow at the European University Institute, Fiesole. 

Professor Ramsay conducted ground breaking empirical research on personal insolvency in Canada, and was a member of the Canadian Personal Insolvency Task Force (2000-2002). He has written extensively on consumer credit, comparative consumer insolvency and is co-author of the World Bank Report on the Treatment of the Insolvency of Natural Persons (2013) . He has published widely on consumer law, consumer credit and insolvency, authoring or editing 12 books and over 70 articles or chapters. His most recent book Personal Insolvency in the 21st Century: A Comparative Study of the US and Europe (Hart, Bloomsbury, 2017) resulted from a Leverhulme Research Fellowship. He has delivered invited and keynote addresses on consumer law and policy and insolvency in many countries throughout the world. 

Research interests

  • Consumer credit 
  • Bankruptcy and insolvency, in particular personal insolvency 
  • Regulation of consumer markets 
  • Consumer law and policy. 

Current Projects include 

  • The New ‘Poor Person’s Bankruptcy’: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis 
  • The development of consumer law and policy in the UK: Ideas, Actors, Institutions.


Iain's postgraduate teaching interests span across International and Comparative Consumer Law and Policy, International and Comparative Bankruptcy and Insolvency Law and Policy. 


I am interested in PhD research proposals in the areas of credit and insolvency, particularly comparative and socio-legal proposals. 

Current Phd supervision:

  • Pingyao Xie, “The Development of Consumer Bankruptcy in China: A Comparative Analysis.” 
  • Philemon Omede, “Models of Consumer Regulation and their application in Nigeria.”
  • Oluwadamilola (Dami) Odetola, “Corporate debt restructuring and the global harmonisation process: emerging trends in Africa”.


  • Elected member International Insolvency Institute 
  • Elected member American Law Institute
  • President International Association of Consumer Law 2001-2007 
  • Member, Working Group on Financial Services, Revision of United Nations Guidelines on Consumer Protection 2014-2016 
  • Member, Drafting Committee, World Bank Working Group on Insolvency of Natural Persons 2011-2013. 
  • Member, International Protection of Consumers Committee, International Law Association 2008.


Showing 50 of 80 total publications in the Kent Academic Repository. View all publications.


  • Ramsay, I. and Williams, T. (2019). Peering Forward, 10 Years After: International Policy and Consumer Credit Regulation. Journal of Consumer Policy [Online]. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10603-019-09436-x.
    A key change since the financial crisis of 2008 is the internationalization of interest in consumer finance. International institutions monitor household credit because of its impact on financial stability and market expansion. Macroprudential concerns drove this interest, resulting in a sea change in approaches to consumer credit regulation in many jurisdictions. This article critically analyses the emerging international policy paradigm, contrasting pre-and post-crisis regulatory approaches and highlighting continuing tensions about key policy choices. It then uses two recent sites of contestation, debt adjustment and the regulation of high-cost credit to demostrate the persistence of conflict over the positioning of consumers within an emergent stability focused paradigm of financial consumer protection.
  • Ramsay, I. (2018). Bankruptcy Light?’The English Debt Relief Order, Bankruptcy Simplification and Legal Change. Norton Journal of Bankruptcy Law and Practice 27:610-638.
    Many over-indebted individuals have no surplus income and few assets. They constitute the “No Income: No Asset” or “Low Income: Low Asset Debtors” who may be unable to pay for access to bankruptcy in jurisdictions which require individuals to pay for access. The World Bank has identified this group as a pressing international policy problem. In the US authors have called for bankruptcy simplification through a streamlined administrative procedure for this group. This article focuses on one jurisdiction’s response to this issue, the English Debt Relief Order, a low-cost, means tested, online administrative procedure introduced in 2009 to provide access to debt relief and financial inclusion for those unable to afford bankruptcy and for whom bankruptcy would be a disproportionate response. The article concludes that although the DRO process promised bankruptcy simplification, it has resulted in a more complex access procedure than bankruptcy because of the relatively restrictive means test, liability limits, and over-inclusive access controls. The costs of the process are however borne by the debt advice intermediaries who process the files rather than the Insolvency Service or debtors. The particular English approach reflects the influential role of the relevant government departments who established the agenda and framed the relevant policy options. This suggests that although the idea of bankruptcy simplification may be widely accepted internationally, any actual procedure will reflect the politics and institutional history of particular jurisdictions. The article concludes by considering the relevance of the English experience for US proposals for a simplified administrative bankruptcy and suggests a future comparative research agenda.
  • Ramsay, I. (2017). Towards an International Paradigm of Personal Insolvency Law? A Critical View. QUT Law Review [Online] 17:15-39. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.5204/qutlr.v17i1.713.
    This article analyses three issues related to the global spread of personal insolvency laws. First, it outlines the emergence of an international paradigm on personal insolvency law and its central feature of a policy preference for partial repayment alternatives as the norm with residual immediate relief reserved for the deserving poor debtor. Second, it examines critically this paradigm in the light of existing empirical studies of the extent to which personal insolvency law achieves economic and social objectives associated with the fresh start such as financial inclusion. The mixed empirical findings on the success of personal insolvency law in achieving these objectives, particularly for individuals subject to instability of employment or poverty raises further questions about the role of personal insolvency law as a modestly progressive safety net for overindebtedness. The final section of the article considers therefore recent radical theories of consumer credit in contemporary capitalism which conceptualise credit as exploitative and personal insolvency law as a disciplinary and legitimating institution which individualises default and may neutralise collective responses to debt and its wider causes such as limited public support or provision. The article concludes by outlining how these radical insights might contribute to future socio-legal research on personal insolvency law.
  • Ramsay, I. (2015). US Exceptionalism, Historical Institutionalism, and the Comparative Study of Consumer Bankruptcy Law. Temple Law Review [Online] 87:947-974. Available at: http://www.templelawreview.org/tlr-in-print/.
  • Ramsay, I. (2012). A Tale of Two Debtors: Responding to the Shock of Over-Indebtednessin France and England: A Story from the Trente Piteuses. Modern Law Review [Online] 75:212-248. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.2012.00897.x.
    England and France have developed distinct treatment systems to address the shock of a substantial increase in over-indebted individuals since the mid-1980s. In France, Over-Indebtedness Commissions, with the Bank of France playing a central role in their management, now dominate the system. A more fragmented system of private and public providers of remedies developed in England, with innovation driven by private actors modifying existing commercial procedures and increased access to bankruptcy relief a side-effect of government promotion of entrepreneurialism. This article explains the differences between these countries in terms of the influence of interest groups, including state actors, and ideologies. Historical contingency also plays a role. The distinct responses were not hard-wired to legal origins and the article argues that analysis of the interaction of interest groups, state actors and ideology in shaping institutions, which in turn structure future change, provides a productive approach for future comparative research in this area.
  • Ramsay, I. (2012). Consumer Credit Regulation After the Fall: International Dimensions. Zeitschrift für Europäisches Unternehmens- und Verbraucherrecht [Online] 1:24-34. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13590-011-0001-7.
    Wie die jüngsten Entwicklungen, etwa die Bemühungen zum Erstellen von „Good Practices“ durch die Weltbank oder der Entwurf der OECD zum Verbraucherschutz bei Finanzierungsgeschäften, zeigen, gehört die Regulierung des Verbraucherkreditsektors mittlerweile (in bescheidenem Umfang) zur internationalen Wirtschafts-regulierung. Der folgende Beitrag geht der Frage nach, ob es überhaupt ein gemeinsames internationales Verständnis für das Institut des Verbraucherkredits in der Wirtschaft gibt. Untersucht werden verschiedene Zugänge, etwa das Lebenszyklusmodell, ein Phänomen, das den Verbraucherkredit als Einkommensersatz sieht, sowie die Verhaltens-ökonomik. Ausgehend von der herrschenden Uneinigkeit über die optimale Rolle des Verbraucherkredits spricht sich der Beitrag für einen effektiven politischen Dialog bei der Regulierung von Verbraucherkrediten aus und beleuchtet die regulative Entwicklung auch aus volkswirtschaftlicher Sicht. Dem Vorschlag der Bildung einer internationalen Informationsagentur, die die Maßstäbe für Verbraucherkreditregulierung setzen und diese auch begleiten und überwachen soll, könnte – entsprechenden Input von Verbraucherseite vorausgesetzt – eine nützliche Innovation darstellen. Der Beitrag beschäftigt sich auch kurz mit den neuen Regulierungsbehörden, die sich nach der Finanzkrise entwickelt haben und streicht hervor, warum es unerlässlich ist, auch Vorschriften für Überschuldung und Verbraucherinsolvenz als Teile der Grundstruktur für die Regulierung des Verbraucherkreditmarkts zu sehen.
  • Ramsay, I. (2011). Regulation and the Constitution of the EU Single Market: The Contribution of Consumer Law. Canadian Business Law Journal:322-355.
  • Ramsay, I. (2010). "To Heap Distress upon Distress?" Comparative Reflections on Interest Rate Ceilings. University of Toronto Law Journal [Online] 60:707-730. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3138/utlj.60.2.707.
    Interest-rate ceilings are often proposed as a protection for lower-income consumers in the credit market. Economists are generally sceptical of the protective role of ceilings, arguing that they often have undesirable substitution and exclusionary effects, may be circumvented, and hurt most those whom they are intended to protect. More competition, better information, and financial literacy are proposed as alternative policies, together with more effective redistribution through the social system. This was the conclusion of David Cayne and Michael Trebilcock in 1973 in their examination of the problem that 'the poor pay more.' Notwithstanding these economic critiques of ceilings, many European countries retain ceilings, and Japan recently lowered its existing ceiling. There does not seem to be an 'end of history' as nations converge on a 'modern' understanding of ceilings. This article sketches recent debates in the United Kingdom (no ceilings) and France (ceilings) where both countries view their policies as protection against financial exclusion. The author outlines the role of empirical knowledge and the value assumptions in these debates, raises the question of whether the differences represent distinct national cultural preferences, and suggests that explanations of consumer credit regulation should be sought in the dynamics of political interest-group influence and its institutional setting in both countries.
  • Ramsay, I. (2007). Comparative Consumer Bankruptcy. Illinois Law Review [Online] 2007:241-274. Available at: http://home.law.uiuc.edu/lrev/publications/2000s/2007/2007_1/index.html.
    This article discusses comparative consumer bankruptcy in the context of the international spread of consumer credit capitalism and its accompanying social cost, overindebtedness. The article outlines the contours of regulation of credit markets and overindebtedness within Europe, the influence of the U.S. idea of the “fresh start” on recent changes in European debt-adjustment laws and continuing contrasts with the U.S. approach to bankruptcy. As consumer debt increases in Europe and elsewhere, these differences between continental European and North American approaches to bankruptcy might be explained by the path-dependence of legal institutions, cultural differences, or the political influence of interest groups. The article is skeptical about cultural explanations of difference and suggests the value of an analysis that is sensitive to political economy and history.It also argues that future comparative research should focus on overindebtedness rather than bankruptcy.
  • Ramsay, I. (2006). Consumer Law, Regulatory Capitalism and the ’New Learning’ in Regulation. Sydney Law Review [Online] 28:9-35. Available at: http://www.law.usyd.edu.au/slr/slr28_1/Ramsay.pdf.
    This article relates developments in consumer law to the ‘new learning’ about regulation. The new learning describes the growth of decentred regulation associated with the use of instruments of regulation that harness market factors and incentives to the regulatory project. At the same time there is also increased monitoring within government of regulatory initiatives, and more international influence through standards, and regulatory networks. This article explores these developments initially by probing the growth of the conception of the consumer as a regulatory subject and examining the influence of international and regional influences on consumer law. It then analyses several areas of contemporary regulation of consumer markets through the lens of the new learning. The article concludes that the new learning does further our understanding of consumer regulation but that the state still plays a significant role. The distributional impact of the new consumer regulation remains contested. Further empirical research of particular regimes is necessary to determine this impact.
  • Ramsay, I. (2006). Functionalism and Political Economy in the Comparative Study of Consumer Insolvency: An Unfinished Story from England and Wales. Theoretical Inquiries in Law [Online] 7:625-666. Available at: http://www.bepress.com/til/default/vol7/iss2/art13/.
    This Article is made up of two parts. The first part reflects on the dominant functionalist approach to comparative consumer bankruptcy and suggests that this might be supplemented by a political economy analysis that addresses the role of national and international interest groups, including professionals, and ideology in understanding different national responses to overindebtedness in North America and Europe. The second part examines current reforms to consumer bankruptcy and responses to overindebtedness in the UK through this political economy lens and concludes that competition among professional groups, the role and interests of the Insolvency Service, and the ideology of the Third Way in consumer policy will influence the ultimate structure adopted for addressing consumer insolvency. A study of the English experience suggests that there is also an element of national path dependency to consumer insolvency reform that may resist pressures towards convergence of approaches between countries in addressing issues of consumer insolvency.
  • Ramsay, I. (2004). Productive Disintegration and the Law of Contract: A Comment. Wisconsin Law Review 2004:495-505.
  • Ramsay, I. (2003). Interest Groups and the Politics of Consumer Bankruptcy Reform in Canada. University of Toronto Law Journal 53:379-423.
  • Ramsay, I. (2003). Interest Groups and the Reform of Canadian Consumer Bankruptcy Law. University of Toronto Law Journal [Online] 53:379-423. Available at: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/university_of_toronto_law_journal/.
  • Ramsay, I. (2002). Mandatory Bankruptcy Counseling: The Canadian Experience. Fordham Journal of Corporate and Financial Law [Online] 7:525-526. Available at: http://law.fordham.edu/publications/index.ihtml?pubid=600.
  • Ramsay, I. (2001). The Alternative Consumer Credit Market and Financial Sector: Regulatory Issues and Approaches. Canadian Business Law Journal 35:325-401.
  • Ramsay, I. (2001). The Alternative Consumer Credit and Financial Sector: Regulatory Issues and Approaches. Canadian Business Law Journal 35:325-401.
  • Ramsay, I. (2001). Commentary: The Politics of Commercial Law. Wisconsin Law Review [Online] 2001:565-575. Available at: http://hosted.law.wisc.edu/lawreview/about.html.
  • Ramsay, I. (2000). Market Imperatives, Professional Discretion and the Role of Intermediaries in Consumer Bankruptcy: A Comparative Study of the Canadian Trustee in Bankruptcy. American Bankruptcy Law Journal [Online] 74:399-460. Available at: http://www.ablj.org/index.html.
  • Ramsay, I. (1999). Individual Bankruptcy: Preliminary Findings of a Socio-Legal Analysis. Osgoode Hall Law Journal [Online] 37:15-83. Available at: http://www.ohlj.ca/archive/vol37.htm.
    This article presents preliminary findings from an
    empirical study of individuals who filed for bankruptcy
    in the Toronto bankruptcy district in 1994. The central
    findings are that bankrupts are both asset- and incomepoor
    at the time of declaring bankruptcy, and have
    much higher ratios of debt-to-income than the general
    population. Bankrupts are not drawn solely from low
    status occupations, but neither are they drawn
    significantly from the highest status occupations. The
    major reasons for declaring bankruptcy are adverse
    employment changes and business failure. There has
    been a large rise in the number of women declaring
    bankruptcy since earlier studies in the 1970s. The
    author concludes that bankruptcy seemed to be
    providing a safety net against entrepreneurial risk and
    adverse employment changes. Further areas of
    investigation identified by the author include the role of
    the trustee in bankruptcy in the bankruptcy process,
    and the relationship between empirical studies of
    bankruptcy and socio-legal analysis of the use of the
    legal system by different groups.


  • Ramsay, I. (2017). Personal Insolvency in the 21st Century : A Comparative Analysis of the US and Europe. Oxford: Hart Publishing.
    Since 1979 the world has witnessed a remarkable cycle of personal insolvency law reform. Changes in capitalist economies, financial crises and political interest groups all contributed to this cycle of reform. This book examines the role of interest groups and distinct narratives in shaping reform in different countries while drawing attention to the role of timing, path dependency and unintended consequences in the development of personal insolvency law.The book presents case studies of personal insolvency law in the US, France, Sweden, and England and Wales. It then analyses how, following the Great Recession of 2008, international financial institutions paid greater attention to the significance of household debt in contributing to financial instability and the role of individual insolvency law in providing a fresh start. Personal insolvency law reform became part of EU responses to the eurozone crisis and the EU has proposed harmonisation of individual insolvency law to promote entrepreneurialism. This book examines the extent to which these developments represent an emerging international commonsense about personal insolvency and its relationship to neo-liberalism. Finally, this book discusses whether the international emergence of individual personal insolvency law represents a progressive step or a band-aid for the costs of neo-liberal policies, where a significant number of people live close to the precipice of over-indebtedness.
  • Ramsay, I. (2012). Consumer Law and Policy: Text and Materials on Regulating Consumer Markets. Oxford: Hart.
  • Ramsay, I. (2007). Consumer Law and Policy: Text and Materials on Regulating Consumer Markets. [Online]. Oxford: Hart Publications. Available at: http://www.hartpub.co.uk/books/details.asp?isbn=9781841135052.

Book section

  • Ramsay, I. (2016). Changing Policy Paradigms of EU Consumer Credit and Debt Regulation. In: Leczykiewicz, D. and Weatherill, S. eds. The Images of the Consumer in EU Law : Legislation, Free Movement and Competition Law. Oxford: Hart Publishing, pp. 159-182. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.5040/9781474202510.ch-006.
  • Ramsay, I. (2015). Two Cheers for Europe: Austerity, Mortgage Foreclosures and Personal Insolvency Policy in the EU. In: Micklitz, H. and Domurath, I. eds. Consumer Debt and Social Exclusion in Europe. Ashgate, pp. 189-229. Available at: https://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&title_id=1219171104&edition_id=1219186166&calcTitle=1.
  • Ramsay, I. (2013). Culture or Politics? Models of Consumer Credit Regulation in France and the UK. In: Wilson, T. ed. International Responses to Issues of Credit and Over-Indebtedness in the Wake of Crisis. Ashgate, pp. 79-108.
  • Ramsay, I. and Duggan, A. (2012). Front End Approaches to Access to Justice. In: Trebilcock, M., Duggan, A. and Sossin, L. eds. Middle Income Access to Justice. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Available at: http://www.utppublishing.com/Middle-Income-Access-to-Justice.html.
  • Ramsay, I. and Williams, T. (2012). Highlights of international, regional and national consumer finance protection developments after the great recession. In: Ramsay, I., Lima Marques, C., Fernandez Arroyo, D. and Pearson, G. eds. The Global Financial Crisis and the Need for Consumer Regulation: New Developments on International Protection of Consumers. Brazil: Orqestra Editora.
  • Ramsay, I. and Williams, T. (2012). The Crash that Launched a Thousand Fixes: Consumer Credit Regulation after the Credit Crunch. In: Alexander, K. and Moloney, N. eds. Law Reform and Financial Markets. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  • Ramsay, I. (2011). Regulation of Consumer Credit. In: Ramsay, I., Howells, G. and Wilhelmsson, T. eds. Handbook of Research on International Consumer Law. Edward Elgar.
    Consumer law and policy has emerged in the last half-century as a major policy concern for all nations. This Handbook of original contributions provides an international and comparative analysis of central issues in consumer law and policy in developed and developing economies. The Handbook encompasses questions of both social policy and effective business regulation. Many of the issues are common to all countries and are becoming increasingly globalised due to the growth in international trade and technological developments such as the Internet. The authors provide a broad coverage of both substantive topics and institutional questions concerning optimal approaches to enforcement and the role of class actions in consumer policy. It also includes comparative insights into the influential EU and US models of consumer law and relates consumer law to contemporary trends in human rights law. Written by a carefully selected group of international experts, this text represents an authoritative resource for understanding contemporary and future developments in consumer law. This Handbook will provide students, researchers and policymakers with an insight to the main policy debates in each context and provide models of legal regulation to assist in the evaluation of laws and the development of consumer law and policy.
  • Ramsay, I. (2011). A sociedade do crédito ao consumidor e a falência pessoal do consumidor. In: Mirage, B. ed. Doutrinas Essenciais Direito Do Consumidor. Editora Revista Dos Tribunais.
  • Ramsay, I. (2009). ’Wannabe WAGS’ and ’credit binges’ : the constructions of overindebtedness in the UK. In: Niemi, J., Ramsay, I. and Whitford, W. eds. Consumer Credit, Debt and Bankruptcy: Comparative and International Perspectives. Oxford: Hart Publishing.
  • Ramsay, I. (2006). Globalization, The Third Way and Consumer Law in the UK. In: Winn, J. ed. Consumer Protection in the Age of the Information Economy. Dartmouth: Ashgate.
  • Ramsay, I. (2005). From Truth in Lending to Responsible Lending. In: Howells, G., Janssen, A. and Schulze, R. eds. Information Rights and Obligations. Dartmouth: Ashgate, pp. 47-65. Available at: https://doi.org/342.240662.
  • Ramsay, I. (2003). Bankruptcy in Transition: The Case of England and Wales-the Neo-Liberal Cuckoo in the European Bankruptcy Nest?. In: Whitford, W., Niemi-Kiesilainen, J. and Ramsay, I. eds. Consumer Bankruptcy in a Global Perspective. Oxford: Hart Publishing, pp. 205-225.
  • Ramsay, I. (2003). Consumer Credit Society and Consumer Bankruptcy: Reflections on Credit Cards in the Informational Economy. In: Niemi-Kiesilainen, J., Whitford, W. and Ramsay, I. eds. Consumer Bankruptcy in a Global Perspective. Oxford: Hart Publishing, pp. 17-39.
  • Ramsay, I., Niemi-Kiesilainen, J. and Whitford, W. (2003). Introduction. In: Ramsay, I., Niemi-Kiesilainen, J. and Whitford, W. eds. Consumer Bankruptcy in a Global Perspective. Oxford: Hart Publishing, pp. 1-14.
  • Ramsay, I. (2003). Consumers’ Access to Justice. In: Rickett, C. and Telfer, T. eds. International Perspectives on Consumers Access to Justice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 17-45.
  • Ramsay, I. (2000). Consumer Protection in the Age of Informational Capitalism. In: Wilhelmsson, T. ed. Consumer Law in the Information Society. Kluwer Law International, pp. 45-65.
    This work looks at the consequences of the development of information technology and the information society for consumers and for consumer law. While the new technological environment has been greeted with enthusiasm by many, citing the improvement in consumer choice, convenience, and the accessibility of information, there have also been calls to focus on the needs of those consumers who cannot easily gain access to the benefits associated with the new technology. This collection of papers examines developments in consumer protection legislation around the world in response to the technological advances, and focuses on issues such as electronic marketing, electronic commerce, financial services, product liability, intellectual property and rights of access to information. Issues such as how and to what extent the new environment should be regulated, as well as the impact of changes in the globalized information market, are also discussed. This volume arose from the 7th International Consumer Law Conference, held in Helsinki in 1999 under the auspices of the International Association for Consumer Law.
  • Ramsay, I. and Williams, T. (1999). Racial and Gender Equality in Markets for Financial Services. In: Cartwright, P. ed. Consumer Protection in Financial Services. Kluwer Law International, pp. 267-279.
    This text examines the role of the law in the protection of the consumer, in particular the ways in which the law is, and could be, used to protect consumers when purchasing financial services. A prominent panel of contributors first examines the role of the European Union and the ombudsmen schemes operating in the United Kingdom in improving consumer protection. Eight expert papers present a detailed analysis of aspects of the various legal mechanisms protecting consumers in the banking, financial services, investments and insurance industries. The final part of the book is concerned with the important and controversial area of consumer credit. This text should be of interest to those at the cutting edge of banking, financial services and consumer law, whether practicing lawyers or in-house counsel, and all those involved in advising consumers.
  • Ramsay, I. (1999). Bankruptcy and Consumer Credit in the declining welfare state. In: Wilhelmsson, T. and Hurri, S. eds. From Dissonance to Sense: Welfare State Expectations, Privatisation and Private Law. Dartmouth: Ashgate.
    The text focuses on the role of private law in late modernity. It analyzes the pressures for changes in this area of law due to the present processes of privatization and marketization. The perspective is welfarist: in what ways and to what extent can the welfare-state expectations of the citizens be defended through private law mechanisms when state-offered security is diminishing? Which alternatives are availible when developing private law? The questions are discussed against the background of theories concerning important features of modern society, like consumerism, risk, information, globalization, and fragmentation. Several fields of private law are analyzed, such as private law theory, tort and liability law, contract law and credit law as well as access to justice issues. The approach is comparative and includes analysis of both common law and continental law.

Edited book

  • Ramsay, I. (2012). The Global Financial Crisis and the Need for Consumer Regulation: New Developments on International Protection of Consumers. Ramsay, I., Lima Marques, C., Fernandez Arroyo, D. and Pearson, G. eds. Brazil: Orqestra Editora.
  • Ramsay, I. (2010). Handbook of Research on International Consumer Law. Ramsay, I., Howells, G. and Wilhelmsson, T. eds. United Kingdom: Edward Elgar Publishing.
    Consumer law and policy has emerged in the last half-century as a major policy concern for all nations. This Handbook of original contributions provides an international and comparative analysis of central issues in consumer law and policy in developed and developing economies. The Handbook encompasses questions of both social policy and effective business regulation. Many of the issues are common to all countries and are becoming increasingly globalised due to the growth in international trade and technological developments such as the Internet. The authors provide a broad coverage of both substantive topics and institutional questions concerning optimal approaches to enforcement and the role of class actions in consumer policy. It also includes comparative insights into the influential EU and US models of consumer law and relates consumer law to contemporary trends in human rights law. Written by a carefully selected group of international experts, this text represents an authoritative resource for understanding contemporary and future developments in consumer law. This Handbook will provide students, researchers and policymakers with an insight to the main policy debates in each context and provide models of legal regulation to assist in the evaluation of laws and the development of consumer law and policy.
  • Ramsay, I. (2009). Consumer Credit, Debt and Bankruptcy: Comparative and International Perspectives. Ramsay, I., Niemi, J. and Whitford, W. eds. United Kingdom: Hart Publishing.
    After a long period of prosperity and steady economic growth, the world's leading economies are now in crisis, and although there will be debate about its origins, the scale and seriousness of the crisis is in no doubt. There is also no doubt that excessive amounts of consumer credit, allied to a weak understanding of how globalised credit markets might react to a crisis, have played a significant part. This book, which is primarily about credit, debt and the trouble they have led to, is written by authors who have specialised in researching into over-indebtedness, that is, situations in which an individual's debt burden has become overwhelming. For these authors the plight of individuals is a primary concern, but the wider issue is how credit is used and how it changes societies. The essays in this volume, addressing topics which are fundamental to our understanding of the current crisis, range widely across the whole sector of consumer finance, including mortgages, 'credit-binges', the regulation of consumer lending, insolvency, repayment plans, debt counselling and much more besides. The conclusions drawn from the book are equally wide-ranging, but above all the lesson learned from these essays is that the financialisation of contemporary life ensures that issues of the appropriate role of credit remain of critical importance in society.
  • Niemi-Kiesilainen, J., Ramsay, I. and Whitford, W. eds. (2004). Consumer Bankruptcy in Global Perspective. Oxford: Hart Publishing.

Research report (external)

  • Ramsay, I., Kilborn, J., Garrido, J., Niemi, J. and Booth, C. (2013). World Bank Report on the Treatment of the Insolvency of Natural Persons. [Online]. World Bank, Washington. Available at: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTGILD/Resources/WBInsolvencyOfNaturalPersonsReport_01_11_13.pdf.


  • Omede, P. (2019). Transnational Regulation, Lenders’ Responses and the Needs of Consumer Borrowers in Nigeria.
    This thesis undertakes an analysis of the developing international paradigm and rationale for regulating consumer credit and their application to Nigeria. The thesis makes an original contribution by problematising the simple application of the transnational model to Nigeria, which currently produces counterproductive outcomes for consumer borrowers. The thesis argues that the emerging transnational paradigm since the Global Recession presents an opportunity for stronger consumer protection and access to credit in Nigeria only if the framework is adapted to the existing institutional structures. To effectively address the research question, the thesis engages with economic neoliberalism as an analytical framework, the influences of psychology (behavioural science) on law, and the historical relationship of Nigeria with transnational institutions. Through a careful analysis of existing literature and a small scale qualitative study, the thesis found: (a) links between transnational regulation and decreased lending by formal sector lenders to consumer borrowers in Nigeria; (b) a weak coalition of change agents at the national level to advance the interests of consumer borrowers, and thus, forsee a role for transnational actors as change agents within the Nigerian credit market; (c) that International Financial Institutions (IFIs) like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) must approach this role from a social protection prism that rests on a new pro-poor 'conditionality', distinct from how conditionality has traditionally been used in Africa. The thesis is a scoping exercise that engages with the research question primarily from the perspective of formal lenders, and designed to facilitate more in-depth studies of the issues in the longer term. It is hoped that the findings of this thesis will stimulate further study. While making policy recommendations, the thesis was careful to avoid broad generalisations.
  • Alsheikh, A. (2017). The Regulation of Systemic Risk in Conventional and Islamic Finance.
    The thesis's main contribution is in the comparative analysis drawn between conventional and Islamic finance, which comprises the examination of different post-crisis regulations and policies that have been established to address four possible sources of systemic risk: bank runs, real estate bubbles, Systemically Important Financial Institutions (SIFIs) and shadow banking. The central objectives of this research are to identify the gaps in current Islamic regulatory approaches to address the possible systemic risk sources and, accordingly, to suggest improvements to Islamic regulations and policymaking in relation to how best to address these sources.
    The research findings show that the Islamic financial system, similar to the situation in conventional finance, is prone to systemic risk insofar as they are both susceptible to three of the four proposed possible sources of systemic risk. This raises questions in regard to whether conventional approaches would be of any benefit to addressing this susceptibility in the Islamic system. Nonetheless, the Islamic system faces a further challenge that needs attention. The issue of Shari'ah non-compliance risk is an exclusive issue that could cause disruptions to the system if not addressed effectively. Hence, when addressing bank runs, real estate bubbles and SIFIs, Islamic regulators should ensure that their proposed regulations and policies are Shari'ah-compliant in the first place. If the regulatory responses to the possible sources of systemic risk are not Shari'ah-compliant, as some of the conventional post-crisis approaches have already proved to be, the Islamic system would remain exposed to systemic risk. Accordingly, this thesis intends to produce a list of recommendations for Islamic regulators to best attend to those possible sources of systemic risk, without violating Shari'ah law.
  • ALBALAWI, K. (2017). A Comparative Analysis of Takaful and Conventional Insurance, With a Special Reference to the Saudi Insurance Law.
    Conventional insurance is considered unlawful under Islamic law, as it involves at least three forbidden elements, gharar (uncertainty), maisir (speculation) and riba (interest). In order to align insurance with Islamic principles, takaful (Islamic insurance) was introduced. Takaful is based on the concepts of mutual assistance and tabarru' (voluntary contribution). In a typical takaful undertaking, the risk funds of the participants (policyholders) operate on a mutual basis, but are managed by the takaful operator, which is a company with shareholders. This study intends to make a comparative analysis between takaful and conventional insurance in general, and to present a literary appraisal of the regulations related to Saudi insurance law in particular. The study explores the evolution of insurance and examines the legitimacy of the subject under Islamic law.
    This study is a qualitative one that focuses on exploring, describing and explaining new insights about the issues under investigation using a doctrinal research technique. Doctrinal legal research is concerned with the examination of the law by analysing legal rules, principles and doctrines and how they have been developed and applied to a given issue. Legal rules are laid down in statutes and cases. Publications, such as law textbooks and journal articles, examine and describe the development of the legal doctrines.
    The findings show that, as Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country, it should put in place a reliable takaful framework to cater to the needs of its citizens. This study demonstrates that the current laws governing cooperative insurance do not comply with the tenets of Shar?'ah law, as the concept of insurance contains a number of articles that run against the principles of Islam.
    The study concludes that the development of a takaful framework for Saudi Arabia should include the enactment of a reliable law that forms an appropriate takaful framework. It is essential that an Islamic insurance act much like the one currently in use in Malaysia be established in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, it is vital that this act consider the number and dynamic nature of the Islamic schools of thought. The thesis also advocates for a law of supervision over cooperative insurance companies and for the revision of their implementation regulations. This would entail adaptations suggested by expert Shar?'ah authorities and Islamic economists, thus ensuring consistency with the tenets of Shar?'ah principles.
  • Torrie, V. (2015). Protagonists of Company Reorganisation: A History of the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (Canada) and the Role of Large Secured Creditors.
    In 1933 Canada enacted the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act with little consultation. Parliament described the CCAA as federal ‘bankruptcy and insolvency law’ but the Act provoked constitutional controversy because it could compulsorily bind secured claims, which fell under provincial jurisdiction. Even after the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the CCAA, the intended beneficiaries of the Act preferred not to use it. In the 1950s the Act fell out of use, and by the 1970s commentators considered it a ‘dead letter.’ But during the 1980s and 1990s recessions, courts ‘revived’ the CCAA through progressive interpretations of its few ‘enabling’ provisions. This helped justify debtor-in-possession reorganisation as a policy objective of Canadian bankruptcy and insolvency law. This thesis attempts to understand why this occurred.

    This study provides a theorised interpretation of CCAA history. I rely on concepts such as path dependence, interest groups and institutions to shed light on periods of stability and change in CCAA law over time. I bolster this with a socio-legal analysis that takes account of gradual changes in practice that often preceded and gave shape to formal reforms.

    This thesis shows that large secured creditors have been major drivers and beneficiaries of CCAA law. The Act originally extended provincial receivership reorganisations into federal law. In the 1980s-1990s courts facilitated ongoing access to the CCAA by recasting it as a debtor-remedy. In both instances the solvency of large secureds (financial institutions) highlighted the necessity of restructuring corporate borrowers, and prevailing social, economic, and political factors influenced the substance and mechanisms of legal changes. Despite its public stature as a ‘debtor-remedy,’ CCAA law continues to advance the interests of large secured creditors.
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