Consumer Law in the Event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit

As previously published, consideration must be given to the possibility for the UK to come out of the EU without a deal. This means that there are situations where businesses may have to be aware of legal repercussions of this. In this article I will briefly discuss what would happen with consumer law and specifically how there are various civil judicial mechanisms that will be lost including the natural loss of the EU small claims procedure for business working throughout the EU and the European Commission’s Online Dispute Resolutions which businesses in dispute will no longer have access to.

Firstly, it must be understood that if there are cross border disputes between those in the EU and the UK will mean that organisations which are based in the UK will not be able to take part in any form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). This means that those organisations will not be able to use the European Commission’s Online Dispute Resolution procedure. The consumer which is based in the UK will have to use the form of ADR which is available in the country of which the business is based. For example, if a consumer purchased goods online and the retailer is in another country, that consumer will have to go direct to the country of which it is based to resolve the issue. This also means that the Uk consumer will not be able to pursue a claim in the UK small claims court if the above scenario is apparent.

A second point to note is something which many consumers may not have considered. The European Health Insurance Card is currently available to UK citizens who are travelling across the EU. This means that a UK citizen will need to ensure that adequate insurance is obtained to cover any accidents. Specifically, businesses who are based in both the UK and an EU member state or have employees that travel across borders will have to ensure they are covered with a new insurance in the event of a no deal Brexit.

Lastly, a judicial decision which has be made by a court in the UK will no longer have any standing or be automatically enforceable against a business which is operating in an EU member state which it currently would be enforceable. Essentially, a lawyer which is based in that member state will need to be instructed so that they can take action and potentially begin proceedings against the business in a court in that jurisdiction.

There are many changes which will affect businesses across the UK but there are also potential issues that will affect consumers who are purchasing the goods and services of organisations based in the EU/EEA. Lawdit have consistently ensured that the it is keeping on top of the potential changes in law in the event of a no deal Brexit. Of course, there is an element of unknown at present but at least we can prepare for every eventuality to help advise our clients who the inevitable influx of enquiries whatever the outcome.

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