With more than 45 participants, the first YUFE Law Conference, which took place virtually on 27 and 28 May 2021 at the University of Bremen, was a great success. The general theme of the conference was “Informed Consent: Comparative Perspectives on Duties to Inform in EU and Member States Law”. At the end of the first day of the conference Prof. Dr. Gralf-Peter Calliess, Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Bremen stated that this “was an experiment to bring together not only lawyers from so many different jurisdictions but also from so many different fields of law, and I am very happy that it was successful.”
Only seven months after the first YUFE students joined lectures at the University of Bremen as part of the YUFE Student Journey, more than 45 YUFE researchers and guests joined the first YUFE Law Conference in Bremen. The conference hosted twelve research papers presented by researchers of the YUFE partner universities. Kept together by the general theme of informed consent, research papers on European, comparative, and national law, covering all kinds of topics from medical law and space law to consumer and investor protection law from a private, public, or criminal law perspective were presented. In general, consent can be constructed as individual consent by the contractual partners (e.g., the patient agreeing to a treatment of the doctor), or as collective consent given by parliament or a union (e.g., in Tax law: No taxation without representation). Most research papers, however, focused on the question of informed decisions taken by individuals. Thereby, consent as an expression of the free will and its limits were discussed. In particular, it was shown that the behaviour economical concept of “information overload”, i.e., that a person can only process a certain amount of information at the same time when making a decision, is not recognized by the rules on information duties in many fields of law. At the same time, it often seems to be an illusion that extensive information duties can overcome “information asymmetry”, a situation that can cause market failure. Still, in many situations no alternative to informed consent seems to be available. Therefore, in all areas of law the European and national legislators should become more focused on the question which information should be provided at which moment in time to come as close as possible to the ideal to enable the individuals to take an informed decision.
After the YUFE Law Conference, which took place from 9:00 to 12:15 am, the deans and YUFE coordinators from the law faculties met to discuss the progress reached in the YUFE cooperation as well as the intended future developments. On the first day of the second YUFE Law Schools Meeting, the discussion focused on the developments at university level. It was followed by a reception hosted by Dr. Claudia Schilling, Senator of Science and Justice of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, virtually in the townhall. During the reception chocolate from Bremen and wine from the Ratskeller was “served”, which was sent to the participants in advanced via mail.
On the second day of the YUFE Law Schools Meeting the conference on informed consent continued in the morning. In the afternoon, the discussion of the deans and YUFE coordinators focused on the next steps to develop the YUFE cooperation between the faculties of law. “When we met last year in January in Maastricht, YUFE was a dream, but nothing had happened. But now we realise that many things happened and continue to happen”, was the comment of Dr. Agustín Parise, Associate Professor at the University of Maastricht after the presentation of the YUFE activities at the ten YUFE law faculties in the past 15 months. To foster the further development in the cooperation between the law faculties, five working groups will be established to develop concrete ideas and working plans till the next YUFE Law Schools Meeting. The working groups will centre around the topics of course development, research and innovation, advanced studies, mobility, and policy advice. The third YUFE Law Schools Meeting and second YUFE Law Conference will be held at the University of Rijeka in May 2022.