Australian Consumer Law - The Comprehensive Guide

Reviewed by Oliver H. Berkmann
6 St James Hall Chambers

Author: Adrian Coorey, Jurisprudentia (2021)

As its title promises, Australian Consumer Law: The Comprehensive Guide, represents by far the most comprehensive textbook on Australian Consumer Law (ACL) currently on the market. It is a must have for any legal practitioner, barrister or law student who practises or wish to practise in the highly litigious and versatile area of ACL.

Split over eighteen chapters, the book covers all mainstream provisions of ACL placing particular emphasis on key areas including: misleading and deceptive conduct; false or misleading representations; unconscionable conduct; unfair contract terms; unfair practices; consumer guarantees; manufacturer’s liability; public and private remedies; and enforcement powers.

The structure of the book largely follows the provisions of the ACL making it easy to follow, but where the book really excels is through its extensive and pin-point referencing of the latest case law, legislation and other secondary sources.

With over 15 years of experience as a legal practitioner and more in academia directly in the field of ACL, Adrian Coorey’s experience and knowledge becomes apparent upon a perusal of the first chapter of the text. The tables of pecuniary penalties and disqualification orders in Chapter 16 Public Remedies remains, in my view, a highlight of the book and no doubt would have entailed many late nights compiling such an extensive list.

The penalty table is particularly useful for practitioners and barristers as it is the first time there is publicly available a penalty table, which not only lists the penalty amounts, but it also contains a break-down of the contraventions and penalty amounts both for corporations and individuals. The disqualification order table is equally useful, as it is the first and only table that has been made public to date on individuals that have been disqualified from managing corporations. In my view, the public and private remedies chapters are the most comprehensive coverage of remedies in ACL in any text or writing published to date.

The ‘misleading or deceptive conduct’ section of the book is split over six chapters covering all facets of the law commencing with an examination of the general principles. Of particular value and interest is Chapter Five which extends these general principles into the realm of social media, online advertising, online auctions, domain names and other aspects of the internet, an area no doubt expected to be a continuing source of contention in the upcoming years.

The writing in the book is concise, up to date (research to 1 January 2021), and well structured. Coorey articulates his work with precision permitting the reader to easily identify the salient features of the law.

Overall, the book represents a well-rounded and far-reaching analysis of ACL along with a balanced consideration of case law as it bears in relation to the various facets of the ACL. The book is a valuable addition to anyone’s portfolio.