The Lawyer, 3 January 1995, reports on the implementation of the EU Unfair Terms directive. Each Christmas the DTI springs a surprise on commercial lawyers when implementing EU directives. Last year it was major changes to the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations. The year before, the EU Software Directive was brought into force days after the final version was published.
This year the surprise is a pleasant one – more time for industry – and results in the need to correct your article. Although the EU Unfair Terms Directive should have been implemented by 1 January 1995, the Government has implemented the directive with effect from 1 July 1995 by the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1994 (SI 1994/ 3159) not 31 December 1994 as your article suggests.This gives businesses six months to adjust contracts with consumers.
The interesting issue, though, is the rights of those who suffer through a failure to implement the directive on time. Anyone suffering loss through the operation of an unfair term which would have been void had the directive been implemented on time will have the right to sue the Government for damages, though after the Dori case they will not have rights as against third parties.
E S Singleton (Mrs)
67 Brooke Avenue
Harrow HA2 OND