Consumer law provides protection to the consumer against issues like fraud or mis-selling when they purchase a product or service. Consumer markets have to abide by the rules and regulations of this directive.
This practice area also protects organisations regarding issues like copyright or intellectual property rights theft.
What does this type of lawyer do?
Consumer law is wide ranging and consumer lawyers deal with many issues such as:
- Advising on consumer credit which includes drafting credit agreements, acting in court proceedings and representations at hearings before, for example the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
- Trading standards where lawyers work for individuals, businesses and enforcement agencies across the full range of trading standards issues such as misleading pricing, underage sales and trademark infringement. Prosecutions are made under Acts such as the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or the Enterprise Acts 2002.
- Providing advice concerning consumer contracts to see that employers comply with the relevant Acts with regards to standard terms and conditions or, conversely, assisting consumers with unfair terms of an agreement.
- Dealing with designers, manufacturers, importers, retailers and consumers in a range of sectors such as cosmetics, food and beverages and pharmaceuticals when dealing with product safety and liability.
What skills are required?
This practice area is ever changing and often litigious as it affects all areas of life from buying a house, to travelling and even ticket touting for major entertainment events.
The ability to absorb a wealth of information and provide advice or draft documentation quickly and efficiently is essential. Due diligence is a big part of the work and so attention to detail is a must.
A flair for advocacy and the ability to think on your feet under pressure is required as both barristers and solicitor-advocates are involved in consumer law work in court. High intellectual ability and sound judgment are required by firms and sets employing consumer lawyers.