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What will a tougher Unfair Contracts Regime mean for Suppliers? Emerging Trends in Interpretation of Standard Form Contract Protections for Small Business - Mar 2019

In light of growing calls for the introduction of penalties for the unfair terms in standard form contracts.

Partner, Sarah Johnson, examines emerging themes in the consideration of unfair contract terms

ACCC 2019 Compliance and Enforcement Policy - Mar 2019

On 26 February 2019, ACCC Chairman Rod Sims outlined the ACCC’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy and Priorities for 2019.

Tom Griffith, partner, Tania Maystrenko, associate and Meshal Althobaiti, lawyer, provide a summary of the key focus areas and sectors being targeted.

$55M demand scuppered in battle of form over substance. (Very) strict compliance is required when it comes to calls on performance security. - Feb 2019

In the recent decision of Santos Limited v BNP Paribas [2019] QCA 11, the Queensland Court of Appeal upheld a decision that a failure to include the words “authorised signatory of Santos Limited” meant that a demand made upon a bank guarantee was invalid.  Given the principle of ‘’strict compliance’’, the employee’s signature and position description did not amount to a representation that he was an authorised representative of Santos Limited.  Ted Williams, Partner and Gemma Twemlow, Senior Associate, discuss what the decision means for parties when notices under contracts.    

Big stick for electricity providers: Prohibiting Energy Market Misconduct Bill 2018 (Cth) - Feb 2019

On 5 December 2018, the Australian Federal Government tabled in the House of Representatives the Treasury Laws Amendment (Prohibiting Energy Market Misconduct) Bill 2018 (Bill) which aims to implement the so-called “big stick” energy reforms.

Partner, Tom Griffith and Lawyer, Daniel Owen review the proposed amendments.

ACCC releases preliminary report on the Digital Platforms Inquiry - Dec 2018

On 10 December 2018, the ACCC released its preliminary report on the inquiry into the impact of search engines, social media and digital content aggregators (digital platforms) on competition in the Australian media and advertising services markets. The ACCC was directed in December 2017 by the then Treasurer, Scott Morrison, to undertake this inquiry.

Whilst the inquiry is targeted at digital platforms, the recommendations put forward by the ACCC in its preliminary report are broad in scope and have the potential to impact on a wide range of businesses operating in Australia. Amongst other recommendations, the ACCC proposes making changes to privacy and consumer protection laws as well as competition laws.

In this article Partner, Andrew Rankin, along with Associate, Philip Chow and Lawyer, Jamin Li, summarise the key findings and recommendations from the preliminary report.

Digital Markets and the Paradigm of Competition - Dec 2018

Consultant George Raitt discusses the implications of current competition law investigations in Australia and overseas for the paradigm of markets and competition which competition laws enforce.  His forthcoming book, The Metaphysics of Market Power: The Zero-Sum Competition and Market Manipulation Approach examines the concept in more detail.

ACCC v Pfizer – Special Leave Application - Oct 2018

ACCC Priority – Small Business Unfair Contract Terms Legislation – Deeply flawed? - Sep 2018

The small business unfair contract term legisation has been in force for almost 2 years, and the ACCC has been making enforcement of this legislation a priority.

However, ACCC Chairman Rod Sims has recently said that these changes are “deeply flawed”. He said that the law “does not go far enough, and its limitations really tie our hands as a regulator. What we want is unfair contract terms to be made illegal and we want huge penalties to apply.”

Ian Nathaniel, Partner and Conrad Banasik, Associate, take a look at recent ACCC enforcement action and whether the legislation needs to be strengthened.

‘Heinz Sight’ is a Wonderful Thing: Food Giant Ordered to Pay $2.25 Million in Penalties - Sep 2018

Following a finding on 19 March 2018 that Heinz had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct, the Federal Court of Australia last week hit the food giant with a $2.25 million penalty. The decision marks a fresh approach to the regulation of the marketing of food products to address concerns that health benefits not be overstated, especially when targeted at children and their parents or carers, who are the purchasers of the products. It is a reminder for companies that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has power to request the imposition of significant penalties, and is not afraid to do so.

Partner, Tom Griffith and Lawyer, Millie Byrnes Howe discuss the implications of the case. 

Stay in your speed lane - a further warning to retail carriage service providers about NBN speed claims and associated upcoming standards - Sep 2018

Following continuing complaints by consumers in relation to differences between the advertised NBN service speeds and those actually experienced by consumers, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) continues to monitor the claims made by retail carriage service providers (RSPs) and has now taken action against one RSP.

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