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Competition & Consumer Law

In competition and consumer law, as with all areas of our practice, we seek to devise strategic and practical solutions for our clients in the most cost-effective manner possible.

Competition & Consumer Law

Competition and consumer law has widespread application to commercial transactions and disputes and must be considered whenever commercial transactions are being planned and implemented.


Consumer protection, misleading and deceptive conduct, and unfair contracts

The provisions of the Australian Consumer Law are the cornerstone of Australian advertising and marketing law and also have extensive application to general commercial dealings and transactions. There are similar provisions in the State Fair Trading Acts.

Holding Redlich has a national practice advising advertising agencies and advertisers on the legal issues related to proposed advertisements and advertising campaigns. We advise on these legislative provisions (and other relevant issues such as copyright, trade promotions, and talent agreements) on a daily basis. We also provide training to our clients on advertising and marketing risks, including social media risks.

The Australian Consumer Law also prohibits unfair contract terms in standard form consumer contracts entered into by corporations and contracts which are financial products or relate to the supply of financial services. Under the unfair contracts provisions any term of a standard form consumer contract which is deemed to be “unfair” may be found to be void and treated as if it never existed. 

Competition law and restrictive trade practices

Part IV of the Competition & Consumer Act (CCA) contains comprehensive provisions concerning horizontal and vertical restraints, mergers, market power, and resale price maintenance.

In addition, the ACCC operates a system of informal merger clearance for mergers and acquisitions which may substantially lessen competition.

Holding Redlich is experienced in advising on the application of these legislative provisions to proposed mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and contractual arrangements. We are also experienced in making applications to the ACCC for informal clearance of mergers, as well as for authorisation by the ACCC of conduct which may be anti-competitive.

Unconscionable conduct

The Australian Consumer Law expands the common law of unconscionable conduct by introducing, in effect, a general duty to trade fairly in relation to consumers, and also in respect of certain business transactions.

These provisions have extensive application to consumer transactions as well as to some business to business transactions including many retail leases. Holding Redlich advises clients in a number of industries, including manufacturing, retailing, and commercial property on steps to ensure compliance with these legislative provisions. We also act for clients in disputes and litigation in which unconscionable conduct is alleged. 

Commercial disputes

Aspects of competition and consumer law, particularly in respect of restrictive trade practices and misleading and deceptive conduct, frequently arise in commercial disputes. Holding Redlich’s litigators regularly conduct cases in the Australian courts at all levels involving competition and consumer law and principles.

In competition and consumer law, as with all areas of our practice, we seek to devise strategic and practical solutions for our clients in the most cost-effective manner possible. In doing so we utilise our extensive knowledge of the industries in which our clients operate and our specialist understanding of the applicable law.


Franchising in Australia is regulated by the Franchising Code of Conduct, made under Part IVB of the CCA. Other provisions of the CCA also have application to franchising arrangements. Holding Redlich is experienced in acting for both franchisors and franchisees in respect of the Code and related issues.

Our experience extends to drafting, negotiating and advising upon franchise agreements in a number of sectors including in respect of motor vehicle dealerships, convenience food outlets, and retailers. We also regularly represent franchisors and franchisees in disputes and litigation. Several Holding Redlich partners are accredited mediators with the Office of the Mediation Adviser which is the mediation scheme created under the Franchising Code of Conduct

Access to essential facilities

Part IIIA of the CCA concerns the granting of access to essential facilities which are also ‘monopoly’ facilities such as pipelines, railways and ports. Part XIC of the CCA concerns access to telecommunications services.

Holding Redlich is frequently asked to advise our clients in the pipeline, mining, and stevedoring industries on the application of these provisions to their businesses and commercial activities.

Informal clearances and enforceable undertakings

The ACCC has the power to grant informal clearances of mergers which may otherwise contravene the merger provisions of the CCA. Often a clearance will only be provided by the ACCC after enforceable undertakings are provided by one or more parties to the proposed transaction.

Holding Redlich is experienced in seeking informal merger clearances from the ACCC and in drafting and advising upon enforceable undertakings, especially in respect of transactions in the media, communications, manufacturing and commercial property industries.

Restraints of trade

Restraints of trade in Australia are predominately regulated by the common law which, in essence, will not allow unreasonable restraints of trade to be enforced. Holding Redlich is experienced in drafting and advising upon restraints of trade in employment arrangements and in commercial transactions, and in enforcing and challenging restraints of trade in the Australian courts at all levels.

Compliance programs

The penalties for infringing the provisions of the CCA and the Australian Consumer Law can be very substantial and most Australian businesses ensure that they comply with the law. Many businesses implement trade practices compliance programs for their staff and Holding Redlich is familiar with the drafting and implementing of such programs in a number of industries, including in retailing, media, and commercial property.

ACCC Investigations

The ACCC has extensive powers to conduct investigations and enquiries and Holding Redlich is experienced in advising and assisting clients which may be subject to such activity by the ACCC. Our experience extends to drafting detailed submissions and representing clients in meetings with the ACCC.


Regulatory compliance, including corporations law, copyright, privacy and competition law.

For an expert guide on Australian merger analysis, read our chapter published in the Mondaq Comparative Guide to Merger Control here.

You can also find out more about Australia's competition litigation laws, current issues and upcoming legal changes by reading our Q&A guide here, which we jointly published with The Legal 500.

Australia's competition litigation laws, current issues and upcoming legal changes

Recent Posts

22 April 2024 - Knowledge

ACCC cracks down on misleading consumer guarantees and return rights for faulty goods

#Dispute Resolution & Litigation, #Competition & Consumer Law

Recent ACCC enforcement action taken against brands highlights the importance of ensuring your business complies with consumer guarantee rights under the ACL and your obligations to refund, repair or replace faulty items.

16 April 2024 - Knowledge

Government announces significant changes to Australia’s merger regime

#Competition & Consumer Law, #Mergers and Acquisitions

The Federal Government has announced a substantial reform of Australia’s merger regime. We summarise the proposed changes and discuss their potential impact on businesses.

13 March 2024 - Knowledge

Overview: ACCC’s 2024-25 compliance and enforcement priorities

#Competition & Consumer Law

The ACCC’s recent 2024-25 Compliance and Enforcement Policy and Priorities will focus on net zero transition, ongoing digital transformation and tackling cost of living pressures.

24 October 2023 - Knowledge

Final countdown to Australia’s unfair contract terms regime

#Competition & Consumer Law, #Corporate & Commercial Law

Businesses are encouraged to remove or amend any unfair contract terms in standard form contracts by 9 November 2023, when reforms to Australia’s unfair contract terms regime under the Australian Consumer Law take effect.

11 October 2023 - Knowledge

Meta slapped with $20M penalty for misleading consumers about use of personal activity data

#Data & Privacy, #Competition & Consumer Law

The outcome of the ACCC’s case against Meta is an important reminder to businesses collecting consumers’ data for commercial purposes to ensure that the claims they are making about the use of the data are true in every sense.

06 September 2023 - Knowledge

ACCC brings Qantas back down to ground for allegedly advertising cancelled flights

#Competition & Consumer Law

Qantas is now boarding the ACCC’s service to the Federal Court following allegations the airline advertised and sold tickets for more than 8,000 flights that had already been cancelled.

13 June 2023 - Knowledge

Budding problem – ACCC proceeding against ‘local’ florist

#Competition & Consumer Law

Roses are red, violets are blue, when advertising 'local' flowers, the claim must be true. ACCC proceeding against online retailer Meg’s Flowers Pty Ltd gives a timely reminder to all businesses that claims and statements must be able to be substantiated under the Australian Consumer Law.

26 April 2023 - Knowledge

Legal tips for e-commerce businesses: When does a ’limited time offer’ become misleading? (Part 3)

#Competition & Consumer Law

In the final part of this series, we look at the risks associated with misleading limited time offers.

22 March 2023 - Knowledge

Legal tips for e-commerce businesses: When does a sale price become misleading? (Part 2)

#Competition & Consumer Law

In the second part of this series, we look at the risks associated with misleading sale pricing claims and emphasise the importance of retailers providing evidence that their two-price comparison advertising are genuine to avoid fines.

15 March 2023 - Knowledge

Comply or face enforcement – ACCC announces 2023-24 priorities

#Competition & Consumer Law

The ACCC has given businesses fair warning that it will focus on cost of living pressures, the price of essential services, the integrity of environmental and sustainability claims and anti-competitive conduct with the release of its 2023-24 Compliance and Enforcement Policy and Priorities.

08 March 2023 - Knowledge

Greenwashing unsustainable following ASIC and ACCC enforcement action: How your business can stay off the regulators’ radar

#Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), #Competition & Consumer Law, #Superannuation, Funds Management & Financial Services

Australia’s corporate and consumer regulators are on red alert for greenwashing and have prioritised investigating and taking enforcement action in connection with misleading disclosures and marketing.

08 February 2023 - Knowledge

Legal tips for e-commerce businesses: Is a ‘lifetime warranty’ really for a lifetime? (Part 1)

#Competition & Consumer Law

In this series, we discuss three common tactics online businesses use to increase sales and when they might find themselves in breach of Australian consumer laws. This first article looks at risks associated with a ‘lifetime warranty’ claim on products.