Consumer ADR and the Proposed 'Consumer Law' in Australia: Room for Improvement
QUT Law and Justice Journal, Vol. 9, No. 2, February 2010
27 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2009 Last revised: 13 Dec 2009
Date Written: March 29, 2009
Australia has a quite complex system for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) of consumer disputes, due in part to jurisdiction over consumer affairs being shared between federal and state governments. This has allowed some experimentation involving diverse forms of consumer ADR. Indeed, some of these experiments may also provide inspiration for the Japanese government as it discusses greater centralization of jurisdiction over consumer affairs (including possibly a new independent Consumer Affairs Agency), and new roles for the government-funded Consumer Lifestyle Centres (Shohi Seikatsu Senta). Australian law also provides for almost all major categories of consumer redress reviewed by the OECD in its comparative report on 'Consumer Dispute Resolution and Redress in the Global Marketplace' (2006). Yet there remain gaps, complexities and other problems. Unfortunately, Australian politicians and officials appear to be neglecting these in proposing a nation-wide 'Consumer Law', focusing on harmonization of substantive law and greater centralisation of enforcement powers.
Keywords: Australia, Japan, consumer law reform, alternative dispute resolution (ADR), mediation, ombudsman schemes, small claims courts, construction disputes, legal profession, legal services disputes
JEL Classification: K10, K13, K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation