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Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017 – Changes and Implications

6 December 2017

The Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017 (“CCL Act”) came into force on 1 September 2017. The new legislation consolidates 12 commercial statutes into one to allow an up-to-date and accessible “one stop shop” Act to deal with contractual and commercial law matters.

For example, legislation concerning contracts privity, contractual mistakes, contractual remedies, frustrated contracts, sale of goods, and carriage of goods have been repealed, and such matters are now governed by the CCL Act. However, consumer protection legislation has not been repealed, and the existing legislation, Fair Trading Act 1986 and Consumer Guarantees Act 1993, continue to apply.

The CCL Act is not intended to change the underlying contractual and commercial law principles of the repealed legislation. Rather, the CCL Act replicates the original statutes with minor amendments, which “revamp” the language to make it more easily applicable in our modern day.

Additionally, the CCL Act makes minor amendments to clarify parliamentary intent and resolve inconsistencies in relation to specific matters identified in one of the schedules to the CCL Act (schedule 2).

As the substance of the existing law remains unchanged, the introduction of the CCL Act is not expected to have any major implications on the conduct of business or interpretation of contracts.

However, it is necessary to review standard form contracts and terms of trade, and to amend them to ensure that they refer to the relevant provisions in the new legislation. Please contact Sarah Davis or another member of our commercial team for assistance in reviewing and updating your contracts.

Whether the CCL Act or the previous legislation applies to a contract or deed made before the CCL Act came into force depends on the subject matter. If you have any queries about the interpretation of a contract or deed or any dispute in such matters, please contact Julia Leenoh or another member of our litigation team.

Source: In Brief Summer 2017

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