The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999
apply to any unfair terms in contract
aim to protect the weaker party in non-negotiated contracts
any term should be plain and intelligible to the ordinary consumer without legal advice
the consumer should have adequate time and opportunity to examine terms.
the terms must be reasonably legible (not hidden in small print)
the terms should not be ambiguous
Unfair term - contrary to the requirement of good faith, causing a significant imbalance in the rights and obligations of the parties under the contract, to the detriment of the consumer
excluding/limiting liability of a seller in the event of the death of or personal injury to a consumer resulting from an act or omission of that seller or supplier
requiring any consumer who fails to meet his obligations to pay a disproportionately high sum in compensation
enabling the seller or supplier to alter the contract unilaterally
Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 (UCTA)
ensures that certain exclusion clauses are removed or held invalid by the courts.
regulates the use of non-contractual notices attempting to restrict liability for negligence
certain exclusion clauses will automatically by considered void under the Act (e.g. excluding liability for death or personal injury due to negligence) and those remaining have to satisfy the test of 'reasonableness'.
concerned with business liability in contract and tort, and hence the liability for breach of obligations or duties relating to that person's trade, business, craft or profession
Test of reasonableness:
whether the parties were of equal bargaining power;
in situations involving advice, whether it was practicable (in costs and time) to obtain alternative advice;
the level of complexity and difficulty in the task which was subject to the exclusion of liability
which of the parties was better able to bear any losses and whether insurance should have been sought
Granville Oil & Chemicals Ltd v Davies Turner & Co
Smith v Bush