find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Top-tier partners call for consumer law simplification

Top-tier partners call for consumer law simplification

review

A national firm has called for the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) to be simplified and streamlined to remove complexity, duplication and rarely used provisions that are not serving the interests of consumers.

MinterEllison has made a submission to the Australian Consumer Law Review, suggesting the adoption of principles-based prohibitions, of clear and effective civil remedies, and to wind back criminal offence provisions in relation to consumer law.

"The ACL reconciled 17 existing Commonwealth, State and Territory laws to create a single national consumer law framework,” said Geoff Carter, a partner at MinterEllison.

"That was a significant step forward. But the ACL remains unnecessarily complex."

The ACL specifies in great detail many types of contravening conduct resulting in unnecessary overlap and duplication, according to Mr Carter, as well as different categories of consumers and transactions protected to differing degrees, with no clear policy basis for the distinction.

"The objective of the law should be to prohibit detrimental conduct and impose obligations without being overly prescriptive," he said.

"Principles-based prohibitions in key areas of consumer protection would ensure the ACL remains flexible as commercial behaviour changes over time and new issues emerge. It allows the courts to interpret and apply the law in specific cases."

MinterEllison has also advocated simplifying the terminology and application of the law, including the definition of a 'consumer', and winding back criminal sanctions.

There are three different definitions of 'consumer' in the ACL, some of which apply to individual consumers and to business customers alike, according to MinterEllison partner Justin Oliver.

"The use of different definitions creates unnecessary complexity. To a business or consumer attempting to understand their rights and obligations under the law, the differences in definitions and coverage is potentially confusing," Mr Oliver said.

"What's needed is greater clarity in the application of the ACL to the persons it is intended to protect."

Finally, MinterEllison's submission argues that the duplication between civil contraventions and criminal offences is unnecessary.

"Our view is that it is preferable for the regulator to focus on civil proceedings, not the least because the standard of proof required is only the balance of probabilities, as opposed to the criminal standard of beyond reasonable doubt," Mr Oliver said.

"More serious activity can be prosecuted under existing criminal laws prohibiting fraud and similar conduct."

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Top-tier partners call for consumer law simplification
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
protest
06:05
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Blocked
06:04
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
Warning
06:03
Lawyers warn against mandatory sentencing measures amid political jeers
Mandatory sentencing has become a topic for politicians on both sides of Federal Parliament to jostl...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...