Consumer law: Overview

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What claims can the Court hear?

Competition and Consumer Act

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (the Court) has jurisdiction over claims under the following provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010:

  • Section 46 (Misuse of Market Power)
  • Part IVB (Industry Codes)
  • Part IVD (Consumer Data Right)
  • Part XI (Application of the Australian Consumer Law as a law of the Commonwealth), and
  • Schedule 2 (Australian Consumer Law).

The Court has power to provide injunctive relief and award damages up to $750,000.

Credit Protection Act

The Court also has jurisdiction over consumer credit matters under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009.

For some compensation matters, you can ask that your application for an order covered by subsection 199(2) of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 be dealt with as a small claim where the amount involved is up to $40,000 or the value of the contract under which the dispute arose is up to $40,000.

The small claims process is more informal than most court proceedings and is usually conducted without lawyers. The process aims to settle disputes quickly and fairly, with minimum expense to the parties. Matters are usually resolved with only one hearing.

Rules about the conduct of small claim applications in the Court can be found in part 31 of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) (General Federal Law) Rules 2021.