Enforcement of consumer protection laws under the Consumer Rights Act 2015
Produced in partnership with Slater and Gordon (UK) LLP
Enforcement of consumer protection laws under the Consumer Rights Act 2015

The following Corporate Crime guidance note Produced in partnership with Slater and Gordon (UK) LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Enforcement of consumer protection laws under the Consumer Rights Act 2015
  • Background to the reforms
  • Enforcers with access to the generic set of investigatory powers under the CRA 2015
  • The generic powers for consumer law enforcement
  • Powers available without entering the traders’ premises
  • Powers available when entering the traders' premises
  • Powers available to Trading Standards officers outside their local area
  • Powers of direct and covert surveillance in consumer protection investigations
  • Relief provisions for businesses under investigation
  • Effect on existing legislation
  • more

Background to the reforms

Prior to reform, regulation and enforcement of consumer protection law was piecemeal, spanning some sixty discrete pieces of legislation which delegated enforcement powers to a number of public bodies to act as enforcers.

Following a governmental review of published reports by the Public Accounts Committee in November 2011, proposals made by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) (now the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)) in March 2012 and various public bodies’ responses, this disjointed regime was considered counterproductive to consumer protection. As a result, the government introduced reform in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA 2015).

Part 3 and Schedules 5–6 of the CRA 2015 introduced a consolidated generic set of investigatory powers to be applied across the catalogue of consumer protection legislation. The rules relating to enforcement took effect from 1 October 2015.

Enforcers with access to the generic set of investigatory powers under the CRA 2015

A number of different regulatory bodies and enforcers are responsible for enforcing consumer law in the UK. The type of enforcer under the CRA 2015 is determined by which legislation/offences are being enforced and what powers are available to enforcers depends on what type of enforcer they are. Under the CRA 2015, there are four types of enforcer:

  1. domestic enforcers who have responsibility