Cliona Kelly, ‘Consumer reform in Ireland and the UK: Regulatory divergence before, after and without Brexit’

The departure of the UK from the European Union is likely to pose significant challenges for the Irish economy and legal system. This article explores the impact of various possible outcomes of Brexit negotiations on the ‘special relationship’ that currently exists between Irish and UK consumer law. If post-Brexit the Westminster Parliament is free to repeal or replace existing consumer rules of European origin, and courts are not bound to interpret remaining rules in a manner consistent with decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union, there is likely to be significant regulatory divergence between the two jurisdictions. In Ireland, the increasing impact of the European Union might affect not merely the substance of consumer rights, but also the architecture of statutes and categorisation of consumer rights, the language and conceptual tools used, and how rights are interpreted by the courts. This article also examines how regulatory divergence can be observed even prior to Brexit: the enactment of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 represents a significant change in the regulation of consumer contracts in the UK, and the inability of Ireland to progress a similar consolidation and reform of the law is the first of many divergences which we are likely to see in the coming years.

Cliona Kelly, Consumer reform in Ireland and the UK: Regulatory divergence before, after and without Brexit, Common Law World Review, Vol 47, Issue 1, 2018. First Published May 17.

First posted 2018-05-20 09:09:07

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