Social Justice in Consumer Protection: The Indonesian Framework

Jessica Los Banos, Gwendolyn Ingrid Utama


The legal system of Indonesia is underpinned by the Pancasila, a political philosophy introduced by President Sukarno when Indonesia obtained independence from the Dutch in 1945. Its fifth pillar, the ‘Keadilan Sosial bagi Seluruh Rakyat Indonesia’ which is literally translated as “social justice for the whole people of Indonesia”, calls for the equitable allocation of resources while protecting the weaker sector of the Indonesian population. Adopting a substantive-procedural dichotomy approach, this paper examines how this indigenous conception of social justice has shaped and influenced consumer protection in Indonesia. It explores specific aspects of social justice in the formulation of consumer rights and obligations, representation, education and dispute settlement, particularly in the establishment of the National Consumer Protection Agency (NCPA) and the Consumer Dispute Settlement Board (CDSB). As expected, the paper finds evidence that the Pancasilan notion of social justice advances a liberal consumer protection framework as embodied in Indonesia’s Law on Consumer Protection (LCP), which while balancing substantive rights procedurally tilts the regime in favour of consumers to temper the stronger position of entrepreneurs. It also predictably confirms that consistent with social justice tenets, consumer protection in Indonesia is pro-consumer and encourages shared responsibility between the government and the private sector.


Pancasila; social justice; consumer protection; dispute settlement; government-private sector partnership

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