Competition and Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2010

The Competition and Consumer Legislation Amendment Bill 2010 has been introduced into the Commonwealth Parliament.

If passed, the Bill will amend the Trade Practices Act 1974 (‘the TP Act’) to clarify the operation of the “creeping acquisitions” provisions relating to mergers and acquisitions.

The Bill will also insert a statement of interpretative principles into the unconscionable conduct provisions of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and the Australian Securities and Investments Act (ASIC Act) and unify the consumer and business-related provisions in sections 21 and 22 of the ACL (formerly sections 51AB and 51AC of the TP Act). The changes to the unconscionable conduct provisions will generally be reflected in the ASIC Act.

The statement will say:
It is the intention of the Parliament that:
(a) the provisions are not limited by the unwritten law relating to unconscionable conduct; and
(b) the provisions are capable of applying to a system of conduct or pattern of behaviour, whether or not a particular
individual is identified as having been disadvantaged by the conduct or behaviour; and
(c) in considering whether conduct to which a contract relates is unconscionable, a court’s consideration of the contract may
include consideration of:
(i) the terms of the contract and
(ii) the manner in which and the extent to which the contract is carried out;
and is not limited to consideration of the circumstances relating to formation of the contract.

The provisions relating to mergers and acquisitions will commence not later than 2 months after Act receives the Royal Assent.

The provisions related to unconscionable conduct will commence immediately after the commencement of Schedules 1 to 5 of the Trade Practices Amendment (Australian Consumer Law) Act (No. 2) 2010.

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