Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation

The new Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation is a replacement of the previous 2004 regulations.[1]

It aims to:

[lay] down the conditions under which the competent authorities in the Member States designated as responsible for the enforcement of Union laws that protect consumers' interests cooperate with each other and with the Commission in order to ensure compliance with those laws and the smooth functioning of the internal market and in order to enhance the protection of consumers' economic interests.[2]

It requires that"[w]ithin each Member State the single liaison office shall be responsible for coordinating investigation and enforcement activities related to intra-Union infringements and widespread infringements by the competent authorities"[3] and allows these authorities to "adopt interim measures to prevent the risk of serious harm to the collective interest of consumers;"[4]

Website censorship and domain seizures

Specific powers allow for web blocking and domain seizures,[5] under Article 8:

(e) where no other effective means are available to bring about the cessation or the prohibition of the infringement including by requesting a third party or other public authority to implement such measures, in order to prevent the risk of serious harm to the collective interests of consumers:
- to remove content or restrict access to an online interface or to order the explicit display of a warning to consumers when accessing the online interface;
- to order a hosting service provider to remove, disable or restrict the access to an online interface; or
- where appropriate, order domain registries or registrars to delete a fully qualified domain name and allow the competent authority concerned to register it; [6]

Article 9 sets out that these powers can be administrative or through the courts.

Article 9 Exercise of minimum powers

1. The powers set out in Article 8 shall be exercised either:
(a) directly by competent authorities under their own authority;
(aa) where appropriate, upon recourse to other competent authorities or other public authorities for the application of the powers;
(ab) by instructing designated bodies if applicable;
or (b) by application to courts competent to grant the necessary decision, including, where appropriate, by appeal, if the application to grant the necessary decision is not successful.

2. The implementation and the exercise of powers set out in Article 8 in application of this Regulation shall be proportionate and in accordance with this Regulation, Union and national law, including applicable procedural safeguards and principles of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Investigation and enforcement measure adopted in application of this Regulation shall be adequate to the nature and the overall actual or potential harm of the infringement. [7]

UK implications

While it is not clear that the new Regulation will apply to the UK as a result of Brexit, it would provide powers that could replace the current “voluntary” procedures made between Nominet and various consumer protection agencies, as well as the police including PIPCU.

Arguably the existence of a requirement for these powers should mean that the UK provides for a legal framework to replace the current ad hoc arrangements.

It would also however create a mechanism for much more widespread use of web blocking for a range of websites deemed to be harmful to the public.

Compatibility with the Charter of Fundamental Rights

In order to comply with the Charter, takedowns and censorship powers would need legal accountability.

It is not clear that administrative powers in the regulation would be compliant with the Charter, as rights for those affected by the takedown need to be taken into account.

Text of the regulation


  1. REGULATION (EC) No 2006/2004 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL, Official Journal of the European Union
  2. Article 1
  3. Article 5 (4)
  4. Article 8 (3) (a)
  5. New EU law prescribes website blocking in the name of “consumer protection”, November 2017
  6. Article 8 (3) (e)
  7. Article 9 (1) and (2)