Contract and the Australian Consumer Law

cACLIt is suggested on the back cover of Contract and the Australian Consumer Law that it is intended to be read from cover to cover, and since I was sitting on an aeroplane for three hours on Saturday, I did just that.

It is a refreshing read by Emeritus Professor John Carter and Laina Chan about a very dull topic. The Australian Consumer Law reads as though it had been written by some demonic anarchist dreamt up by Evelyn Waugh. It is very long, and full of words that do not bear their ordinary meaning. Statutory liabilities are referred to as “guarantees” although they are nothing of the sort. “Consumers” include companies which are not consumers. A contract with a “consumer” is not necessarily a “consumer contract”. Things are defined as “warranties” when they are not even contractual terms, let alone warranties. Quite how the authors of this book managed to maintain their sanity whilst surveying this awful scene is a mystery.

But we should be grateful to them. Their gentle mockery of the legislation turns out to be rather helpful in getting to grips with it.

At 162 pages, it is a short book, and all the more useful for that. Thoroughly recommended.

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