Riefa and Saintier, ‘Unfair Commercial Practice Directive: Remedying Economic Torts?’

The aim of the UCPD is to harmonise the laws on unfair commercial practices and with it bring adequate remedies for consumers victim of such practices. The text provided for maximum harmonisation, yet, the implementation raised considerable difficulty across Europe over the manner in which to transpose the text. One particular problem was that of enforceability which this chapter explores. While in the UK, the implementation appears to be positive some criticisms can be raised as to the application of the UTRs which come to fill a gap in the ‘tort family’ and simplifies actions to stop unfair commercial practices. In particular, the general approach of the UTRs in combatting unfair commercial practices is attractive compared to the ‘punctual approach’ of tort. It is important to note however that in the UK very few cases have been heard by the courts and thus only the tip of the iceberg seem to be taken care of. All cases also stem from administrative action and not yet from the right of private redress open to consumers. But it bodes well for any private action to see the way judges have received and used the UTRs. It is therefore possible to anticipate that the UTRs can remedy economic torts, should consumers be able to bring their cases to court. This of course is contentious given the restrictions imposed on the right of private action and the usual obstacles consumers face when trying to access justice.

Riefa, Christine and Saintier, Severine, Unfair Commercial Practice Directive: Remedying Economic Torts? (2016). P Gilliker (ed) Research Handbook in EU Tort Law (Edward Elgar 2016) 293-318.

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