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This subject will introduce students to the principal rights and obligations created by the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and their equivalent in the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (ASIC Act). The ACL is a generic law operating Australia wide, developed to protect the interests of consumers. It was introduced in 2010 in the form of Schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Law 2010 although it has antecedents dating back to the State and Territory sale of goods acts and the Australian Trade Practices Act 1974.
The focus of the subject is on the current law. However, the policy and economic underpinning of the ACL are also considered, as are some of the current debates concerning consumer protection. The subject has a practical orientation, designed to assist students: as consumers - to know, understand and pursue their rights; and as lawyers to equip them to advise consumers and business suppliers of their rights and obligations and assist regulators to effectively carry out their responsibilities.
Principal topics are:
- Consumer protection in Australia and introduction to the ACL
- Policy objectives of the ACL and the economics of consumer protection
- Misleading or deceptive conduct
- False or misleading representations
- Unconscionable conduct
- Unfair contract terms
- The consumer guarantees regime
- Consumer transactions
- Product safety
- Manufacturers’ liability
- Enforcement and remedies
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject, students will have:
- An integrated understanding of the following specialised topics: the relationship between the disciplines of law and economics in the context of consumer law; the policy objectives underpinning the Australian Consumer Law (ACL); the issues that arise in defining conduct that should be subject to legal regulation for consumer law purposes; the roles played by regulatory authorities and the courts in enforcing the provisions of the ACL;
- The ability to critically assess the practical advantages and disadvantages of legal regulation of business practices and the impact on business of enforcement policies and practices;
- A detailed understanding of the principal forms of consumer protection created by the ACL;
- An advanced ability to undertake statutory interpretation and case analysis through the experience of construing the complex provisions of the ACL;
- Construct and communicate a written legal argument based on understanding the facts, identifying the issues, analysing the applicable law and applying the law to the facts.
Last updated: 31 January 2024