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United Kingdom

UK Consumer Law

In reality there are not a lot of differences between the consumer laws in Northern Ireland and England, though Scottish law does differ somewhat, where certain parts of the law is applicable in Scotland, but not the other way around, and the opposite holds true also. The courts in both parts of the continent, are named differently and the procedures differ slightly.

Law is made up out of two parts, we call "common law" and "statue law", where common law is derived from rulings made by the courts in the past, and statue law stands for legislation created by the government, which is a combination of laws created by parliament and European law. For consumers the latter is the most important, mainly because consumer protection laws are an extension of rights that come forth from common law.

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Laws that have been constructed centuries ago, with the purpose of regulating trade, lay at the foundation for the consumer protection laws as we know them today. Most current consumer laws, were introduced during the seventies, and most of them are still applied today in its original state, as they were introduced.

The UK, being a member of the European Union, is also bound by the consumer laws as constructed in Europe, so the consumer laws in the United Kingdom, are a combination of the European directives and domestic legislation, in terms of statue law.

In general consumer law issue are processed by the Fair Trade Office, which purpose is to monitor, investigate and depending on the outcome of the investigation, to impose sanctions, or take the matter to the courts.

The Fair Trade Office serves as the countries watch dog for consumer protection, while the Citizen's Advice Bureau has local branches, where consumers can get information regarding consumer law issues.

Consumer law consists out of several independent acts, and even more regulations, but they are more use to legal parties, then they are to consumers. On average, consumers, need to apply only one law basically, which is the law of common sense. 

Before taking a consumer law case to the courts, it is in the consumer's best interest to ask him or herself, whether or not the trader in question was really in the wrong, or not. An honest answer to this question usually will be along the same lines of a ruling from a judge.

When in doubt, it may be smart to ask other people their opinion on the matter, to get an idea of the general consensus on the matter, which in turn gives more insight into the question of right and wrong in consumer law cases.

The reason this is a good strategy, is that courts apply something called a "reasonableness test", which comes down to pretty much the same thing. On rare occasions there may be specific legislation on a subject, causing the outcome of a consumer law case to differ, but as stated these occasions are rare.

It is for these exceptions, legal counselling may be required, before a decision on whether or not to take a consumer law case to court is made.

Laws For Great Britain, UK, GB, United Kingdom.

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