UP Law's Professor Jacolien Barnard calls for Consumer Protection Law as a key to sustainable development in her inaugural address

Posted on March 30, 2022

Prof Jacolien Barnard and Head of the Department of Mercantile Law, Prof Phumudzo Munyai


The Faculty of Law (UP Law) at the University of Pretoria (UP) congratulates Professor Jacolien Barnard in the Department of Mercantile Law on her inaugural address to celebrate her promotion to full professor in January 2020.

In her presentation on 17 March 2022, titled “’Bridge over troubled waters” Consumer Protection Law as a key to sustainable development’, Barnard took the audience on her journey as an academic citizen and thanked many of her national and international colleagues, academic staff and mentors, for the respective roles they have played in her becoming a specialist in Consumer Protection Law.

Barnard highlighted the importance of scholarly research, collaboration, and the interplay between teaching and research. She focussed on consumer protection issues such as the regulatory framework of consumer protection law; the role of the vulnerable consumer and comparative law; academic mentorship and redress and enforcement of consumer rights.

Barnard argued that ‘consumer issues could be bridged by consumer protection law, but further research and collaboration were needed as humans are facing disruptive events, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, yet another industrial revolution, the significant increase in the number of vulnerable consumers, the safety of the products used and the food consumed and, of course, war.’

Regarding academic mentorship, Barnard stated that “As academic citizens we have a duty to mentor and supervise to ensure that the next generation of researchers and lawyers will keep building this bridge and build it well. To all of my postgraduate students many of whom have attained wonderful achievements: Well done. I am very proud of you. To Dr Tshepiso Scott, what a privilege to be able to also call you a co-author and colleague.”

Barnard confirmed the need for continued questioning, analysis, research and writing. She noted that September of this year would mark the fifth year of the University of Pretoria’s International Consumer Protection Law Conference (UPICLC) which has been a platform for the University of Pretoria’s neighbouring colleagues and those across the globe to truly provide valuable contributions. She reminded the audience that academic citizens need to establish a platform for businesses, government institutions, regulatory authorities and international organisations to be part of the building process.

In her concluding remarks, Barnard affirmed: “The African proverb declares ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. After more than 15 years as an academic citizen, I can categorically state that it will take a global village to raise and build a bridge. It is not enough to collaborate as academic citizens. It is not enough to mentor and guide. It is not enough educate and lift up those who are too vulnerable to get across the bridge themselves. It is all of this and more. It will take political resolve, unwavering integrity and a realisation that we are all responsible for building a bridge that is truly sustainable and sturdy for generations to come.”

In her congratulatory address, Dean Professor Elsabe Schoeman congratulated Professor Barnard on her presentation. ‘Consumer protection law deals with the human element and therefore it is one of the areas of law that is central to the promotion of social justice in achieving a balance between business and consumers and building a strong and sustainable economy.

Once again, congratulations on your inaugural address, Professor Barnard, and wishing you the very best in your future endeavours.’

- Author Elzet Hurter
Published by Elzet Hurter

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