We are being inundated with fine print. We are clicking “I agree” to we-don’t-know-what in our transactions online. We are receiving paperwork whenever we sign up for a gym or enroll our kids in daycare or camp. This paperwork is called boilerplate because we can’t change it.
In her new book, Professor Radin says that boilerplate is used against consumers to delete our legal rights and substitute what the firm allows for us. It transports us from the legal universe applicable to our society to a legal universe selected by the firm. It replaces the law of our country with the “law” of the firm, where we no longer have the right to take companies to court when and where they harm us and lose our rights to adequate remedies, trial by jury and to action by class. In these ways boilerplate undermines the rule of law and democracy.
What can we do? We can ask the courts to acknowledge that clicking “I agree” in today’s world is not a bargained-for agreement to give up precious rights. Consumers can try deleting the bad clauses. Consumers can band together and vote with their feet. Reputable companies can avoid giving us the impression that their product is so shoddy that they fear consumers.
Join the author and a truly impressive international cast of legal and judicial scholars to debate these timely issues.
- Aditi Bagchi, Fordham Law School
- Omri Ben-Shahar, University of Chicago
- Peter Benson, University of Toronto
- Abraham Drassinower, University of Toronto
- Anthony Duggan, University of Toronto
- Hon. Kathryn Feldman, Court of Appeal for Ontario
- Margaret Radin, University of Michigan
- Guy Rub, Ohio State University
- Simon Stern, University of Toronto
- Michael Trebilcock, University of Toronto
- Catherine Valcke, University of Toronto
- Stephen Waddams, University of Toronto
This conference is open to the public but registration is requested here. Copies of Professor Radin’s book will be available for sale at the conference.