Category: Competition and Consumer Law

High Court refuses ACCC’s application for special leave from the Full Court’s decision in ACCC v Pacific National

On 8 December 2020, the High Court of Australia dismissed the ACCC’s application for special leave to appeal the decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court that Pacific National’s (PN) acquisition of the Acacia Ridge terminal (Terminal) from Aurizon would not be likely to substantially lessen competition.

Contractual time bars and claims for damages for misleading or deceptive conduct under s 236 of the ACL

A contractual provision which had the effect of excluding liability for damages for misleading or deceptive conduct under s 236 of the Australian Consumer Law if the complainant failed to give a notice of the proposed claim within a prescribed time limit was found to be unenforceable. Such a provision was also found to be ineffective in a “no transaction” case.

A Cartel Case Gets Washed Away

Just before Christmas last year Wigney J dismissed a cartel case in which the ACCC alleged that Cussons (and the other major laundry detergent manufacturers) had colluded when they simultaneously transitioned all their detergent products from a standard formula to an ‘ultra-concentrated’ formula (with concomitant repackaging and re-pricing). The case is on appeal.

Lit up! E-retailers of e-cigarettes fined for misleading conduct

The Federal Court found that three online retailers and their directors had engaged in “serious” contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law for misleading Australian consumers as to the health benefits of e-cigarettes in three separate decisions that emphasise the importance of cooperation as a mitigating factor.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v The Joystick Company Pty Ltd, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Social-Lites Pty Ltd, and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Burden [2017] FCA 397, [2017] FCA 398, and [2017] FCA 399