Contract and Commercial Law Act: what business need to know

Commercial | Print Article

On 1 September 2017 the new Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017 came into force.

This Act consolidates 11 contract and commercial statutes into a single piece of legislation. The drafters have also taken the opportunity to update the legislation to simplify the language used and make it more accessible and easier to understand.

It is important to be aware that the Act does not change the substance of the existing law.

This Act signals the government’s intention to modernise our legislation as part of its statute revision programme.

What does the Act cover?

The key rules now dealt with under the Contract and Commercial Law Act include:

  • carriage of goods, relating to the rights and obligations of transport carriers and their customers;
  • privity of contract, where a person who is not a party to a contract may still have rights to enforce promises made in it for their benefit;
  • contractual mistakes, allowing a court to grant relief in certain circumstances where a party enters into a contract after some mistake;
  • contractual remedies, relating to rights to cancel a contract or seek compensation when buying products or services from a private seller or for business use;
  • electronic transactions, relating to the legal effect of information communicated electronically;
  • frustrated and illegal contracts;
  • contracts with minors; and
  • sale of goods, covering, amongst other things, default rules relating to the sale of goods in the absence of an express contract

How might this change affect you?

If you have terms of trade or other contracts with customers that refer to statutes that have now been repealed, such as the Contracts (Privity) Act 1982 or the Carriage of Goods Act 1979, you will need to update them to refer to the equivalent provisions in the Contract and Commercial Law Act.

If you would like assistance with updating your terms of trade or contracts with customers, please contact us.