No-deal Brexit guidance: Consumer law
The Law Society has published guidance for solicitors that highlights the changes in consumer law including civil and commercial cooperation that will occur should the UK leave the EU on 29 March 2019 without having reached an agreement with the EU.
In this scenario, the EU and UK will have failed to sign a withdrawal agreement (governing the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU) and an agreement governing the future relationship between the two parties.
The UK will immediately leave the EU’s institutional structures without a transition period. In many areas, cooperation between the UK and EU will cease, and the applicable legal regime in many practice areas will change.
In this article we consider the loss of several civil judicial mechanisms and access to the European Commission’s Online Dispute Resolution and the European small claims procedure.
Key points to consider in relation to consumer law:
UK-based organisations that provide for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) will no longer be required to act in cross-border disputes between the UK and EU/EEA states and the Mediation Directive rules will not apply. UK consumers may need to engage ADR entities in the country in which the retailer is based.
The European Commission’s Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) procedure will no longer be available to UK consumers.
The European Small Claims procedure will no longer be made available to UK consumers. Additionally, UK consumers will not be able to pursue a claim in the UK small claims court where the retailer is based in an EU/EEA state.
The European Health Insurance Card will no longer be made available to UK residents/citizens, and the existing cards will not be valid anymore. This means that those travelling from the UK to EU/EEA states will need to purchase health insurance to cover accidents and emergencies following a no deal Brexit.
Any judgment of a UK court made against an EU/EEA retailer will no longer be automatically enforceable against the retailer in that country. Instead, UK-based consumers may need to employ a lawyer in the country where the retailer is based to enforce their rights. They may alternatively launch proceedings directly in the country concerned.