This book examines the 2010 ‘Australian Consumer Law’ reform package in broader context. It considers parallel re-regulation of consumer credit and other financial markets impacting on consumers. It also compares recent reform initiatives in New Zealand, Australia’s closest economic and geo-political partner, as well as developments in other major economies including the European Union, Japan and the United States.
In addition, the book examines policy considerations and market transformations, as well as the often complex legislative history associated with recent consumer law reform proposals in Australia and New Zealand. Each substantive chapter usually begins with that broader setting, especially the issues and recommendations of a 2008 Report by Australia’s Productivity Commission. Chapters then outline ‘how the law works’, before offering a critical assessment of the current regime.
This book will therefore appeal to policy-makers, researchers, senior law students, and legal practitioners interested in an advanced and wide-ranging analysis of current consumer law issues – particularly in Australia. The 14 contributors are consumer law experts associated with Australasian Consumer Law Roundtables, held annually in Australia and New Zealand since 2007 to bring together academics, regulators and peak consumer group representative.
Specific areas covered include: definitions of ‘consumers’, mandatory quality guarantees and controls over unfair terms in consumer contracts, regulation of unconscionable conduct, a possible general prohibition of ‘unfair practices’, product liability and safety regulation, responsible lending and ‘hardship’ provisions in consumer credit, consumer banking and financial advice, vulnerable consumers, interest rate caps, dispute resolution, regulatory powers and e-commerce.
Part 1: General Themes
- Luke Nottage and Justin Malbon
- Just Who is the Consumer? Policy Rationales and a Proposal for Change
- Aviva Freilich and Lynden Griggs
- Comparative Consumer Law Reform and Economic Integration
- Luke Nottage, Christine Riefa and Kate Tokeley
Part 2: Unfair Practices and Defective Products
- Consumer Guarantees
- Jeannie Paterson and Kate Tokeley
- Unfair Contract Terms in Consumer Contracts
- Nyuk Yin Nahan and Eileen Webb
- Unconscionable Conduct in Consumer and Business Transactions
- Nyuk Yin Nahan and Eileen Webb
- A General Provision on Unfair Practices?
- Jeannie Paterson
- Product Liability and Safety Regulation
- Luke Nottage and Jocelyn Kellam
Part 3: Consumer Credit and Investment
Responsible Lending, Unjust Terms and HardshipJustin Malbon Financial Literacy, Consumer Banking and Financial AdviceGail Pearson Vulnerable and Disadvantaged ConsumersTherese Wilson Interest Rate Caps and Price Regulation in Consumer CreditNicola Howell
Part 4: Access to Remedies and Enforcement
- Consumer Complaints
- Justin Malbon
- Regulatory Consistency and Powers
- Paul O’Shea
- Lynden Griggs
Appendix: Updated Submission to the Australian Government’s Consultation on Consumer Voices: Sustaining Advocacy and Research in Australia New Consumer Policy FrameworkJustin Malbon and Luke Nottage (eds)
This is a very impressive work in terms of the breadth and depth of its scholarship. It fills a major gap in the academic literature on Consumer Protection Law in Australia and New Zealand in that it is the first comprehensive analysis of the 2010 Australian Consumer Law (ACL) reform package from a policy perspective.
It will be essential reading for anyone seeking to gain an understanding of how we arrived at where we are in relation to consumer protection law and policy in Australia and New Zealand, and the directions in which we should be heading.
Stephen Corones, Australian Business Law Review (2013) 41 ABLR 162
In this well-ordered book, the editors have encapsulated the necessary but labyrinthine processes that led to an acceptable outcome, and one that was far from certain. The credentials of editors Justin Malbon and Luke Nottage are formidable, and with contributions from 13 other experts, an outstanding resource has resulted.
While the book is designed primarily for professionals and scholars, and those with an interest in legislative policies and their drafting, it may also have appeal in the wider community because of the colossal impact commercial transactions have on us all.
In the foreword, written by the Hon KE. Lindgren AM QC, a wish is expressed that the publisher and editors consider in due course a second edition of this estimable work.
Shirley Benneworth, Law Society Journal, June 2013