Consumer Law is central to the core practice of Chambers, which focuses on all aspects of the regulation of business and public bodies. This includes consumer contracts, trading practices, advertising, consumer credit, health and safety, product safety, food and medicines, waste and environmental law.
Our practice draws on our substantial expertise in regulatory matters and we offer a strong team of barristers that includes recognised leaders in the field, at both silk and junior counsel level, who are experienced in civil enforcement, regulatory proceedings and criminal prosecutions.
Legal 500 2014 says in relation to our Consumer Law practice:
“Henderson Chambers is ‘an incredibly good set’, with related expertise in consumer credit… It contains ‘high-calibre advocates, who go out of their way to help and accommodate’.”
We are very familiar with civil enforcement under the Enterprise Act 2002 and because of their expertise members have been instructed both by traders and by regulators in enforcement actions in relation to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2014 (and its predecessor regulations) and the Consumer Credit Act 1974. We have also been instructed both by trade associations and by consumer protection bodies such as the Consumer Association (Which?).
Over the few years, members have been involved in matters involving the regulation of gym club contracts, package holidays, timeshare agreements, airline ticket pricing, estate agents contracts, payment card surcharges, “doorstep” selling, distance contracts, “perpetual sales”, unfair terms in sheltered accommodation contracts, double glazing contracts, and prosecutions by Trading Standards departments
Our expertise in regulation by the Financial Services Authority means that members are instructed by both regulated firms and by consumers in relation to the mis-selling of financial products.
We also have particular expertise in food law, food labelling and food contamination cases (including the well-known cases of contamination by Benzene, Sudan Red and Para Red) and on pharmaceutical, medicines and medical device issues (for example in the recent breast implant claims).
With so much consumer protection legislation derived from European directives and regulations, Henderson Chambers is particularly well placed to provide advice on such legislation with its strong European Law expertise.
Members of Chambers edit Butterworth’s Commercial and Consumer Law Handbook, as well textbooks on product safety and consumer credit. We offer seminars and training sessions (for example on the new Consumer Rights Act 2015) and our Alerter Service provides e-mails covering legal updates in consumer law.
We offer junior members of chambers on secondment to bodies (including regulators) dealing with consumer issues, so that our team learns first-hand and from an early stage the challenges of consumer regulation.
Members of chambers are at the forefront of consumer law litigation. Significant consumer law cases in which members of chambers have acted have included:
- RTA (Business Consultants) Limited v Bracewell  EWHC 630 (QB) (unenforceability by reason of illegality of contracts entered into by an unregistered estate agent; whether sole trade selling business a consumer).
- Parkingeye Limited v Beavis  EWCA Civ 402 (whether parking fines imposed by private car-park companies were unenforceable as penalty clauses or were otherwise unfair).
- Office of Fair Trading v Ashbourne Management Services Limited  EWHC 1237 (Ch) (High Court enforcement action under the Enterprise Act 2002 in relation to terms in gym club contracts)
- Amberley UK Ltd v West Sussex County Council  EWCA Civ 11 (validity of unilateral powers of variation of price in care home contracts)
- Feldaroll Foundry plc v. Hermes Leasing (London) Limited  EWCA Civ 747 (whether a company can deal as “consumer” for the purposes of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977
- Director General of the Office of Fair Trading v First National Bank Plc  1 AC 481 (Leading case on the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations)