Law in the Digital Age: Protection of Consumer Rights

von Chanbormey Long, Professor Kong Phallack

The Law Talk 2020 Publication

Deceptive practices and irregularities in the market are common issues happening in all countries around the globe, which require the government to intervene to safeguard consumer interests by upholding consumer rights in various legal instruments.1 Cambodia is not an exception, there are many laws and regulations as well as mechanisms recognizing consumer rights, such as the law on consumer protection, the law on management of quality and safety of products and services, and the law on electronic commerce. However, there are not yet any studies focusing on how consumers perceive the exercise of their consumer rights in the country. The primary purpose of this research is to examine the perceptions about the actual implementation and challenges concerning consumer rights of Cambodian consumers who are entitled to exercising the rights. The study employed desk research, a questionnaire-based survey, and key informant interviews with consumers who mostly were in college.

Since the promulgation of the Cambodia’s constitution, the country has made considerable strides in stimulating legal reforms to overcome the systematic weakness of its legal institutions. However, more work still needs to be done to safeguard the rule of law principle and to secure the effective and sustainable national justice system in the Kingdom, including the improvement of justice service delivery, strengthening the legal and policy framework, and ensuring comprehensive implementation and enforcement of the law in Cambodia.

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) is a German political foundation which has offices and projects, in over 100 countries worldwide. The main goals of our international commitment are fostering democracy and economic development as well as the respect for human rights. Promoting the rule of law is one of the top priorities in the work of KAS since we believe that sustainable development and security are not conceivable without stable democracies – and that stable democracies are not possible without the rule of law. KAS is committed to promoting rule of law structures and central institutions as well as the separation of powers and a strong independent judiciary through an open exchange between key players within the fields of rule of law, politics, and society.
The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Cambodia, in this context, has focused its rule of law-related activities on promoting pluralistic discussions around various legal topics. We aim to involve all relevant stakeholders, including both duty-bearers and rights holders, in constructive and peaceful debates concerning the ongoing status of the rule of law in Cambodia in a broader sense, using dialogue-based approaches such as conferences, training workshops, and publications. The Law Talk format is one of only a few regular forums for legal discussions between academia, civil society, students, and the government in the Kingdom.

Cambodia had only recently adopted its Consumer Protection Law in late 2019, making it one of the youngest consumer protection regimes compared to other countries in the region and the world. The national report on ASEAN Consumer Empowerment Index (ACEI) in Cambodia, released in September 2020, suggests that consumer protection knowledge and understanding are very limited among Cambodians. This is critical because even the strongest constitutions and laws can have little impact unless there is widespread awareness of the applicable law and its respective rights and obligations for the actors within the justice system and the population as a whole. Against this background and in order to contribute to Cambodia‘s limited legal literature particularly in this specific field of consumer protection law, researchers and experts were invited to submit and present their research papers at the 19th Law Talk: ‘’Law in the digital age: Protection of consumer rights”. This publication is, therefore, a compilation of various academic perspectives from different young Cambodian researchers and experts in identifying the Status Quo of consumer protection law and policy, the challenges of implementing these, and formulating policy recommendations for a better consumer protection regime in Cambodia.

We sincerely hope that this Law Talk publication will be of great use to students, researchers, policymakers, and the interested public to gain a better understanding and to contribute to promoting a better consumer protection system in Cambodia.

KAS Cambodia extends its sincere gratitude toward all the authors for their contributions and those who made this publication possible. We would like to extend our appreciation to the editor, Professor Kong Phallack, for his continuous academic devotion to this project and we also like to acknowledge the editorial contribution of Ms. Sita Zimpel—Programme Director for Consumer Protection in ASEAN (PROTECT), GIZ.

Finally, our special appreciation is directed to all the participants and guest speakers from the Ministry of Commerce, academic institutions, NGOs, local and international law firms for their active and constructive involvement in commenting and giving feedback during the initial presentation of the papers by our authors at the 19th Law Talk held on November 12-13, 2020.


Enjoy your reading!









Professor Kong Phallack & Long Chanbormey


KAS Cambodia