In this feature l Enterprise Act l either way matters l sentencing guidelines toeing the legal line Iain macdonald focuses on three developments that are likely to have a significant impact on costs for traders caught stepping out of line F rom 1 October 2015, enhanced consumer measures were expected to be introduced under the Enterprise Act 2002 by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. These new measures will apply to enforcement orders, court undertakings and undertakings given under section 219 of the Enterprise Act 2002, and are directed at redress, compliance and choice. Redress is the most obvious new power, which could be deemed expensive to a trader. Where customers have suffered a loss, the enhanced consumer measure may include an order for compensation of those customers losses. However, if specific customers cannot be identified, then measures can be put in place for the collective interests of consumers, which could mean, for example, making a donation to Citizens Advice Bureau. Indirect costs under Enterprise act 2002 Enhanced consumer measures aimed at compliance and choice may not be as obviously expensive, but will cost traders indirectly. For example, the salary of a new compliance officer, the costs involved in setting up a new complaints handling process, and the lost business that may well result from publicising details of the breach or potential breach and remedial action, can all be expensive for traders. Secondly, Section 85 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 recently came into force and, generally speaking, removed the old 5,000 limit on fines in the magistrates court. Given this change, it is relatively safe to assume that the fines imposed are likely to increase over time and, in light of the new equality in powers between the magistrates and crown courts, more defendants may elect crown court trial in either way matters. Finally, the draft sentencing guidelines for health and safety, food safety and hygiene offences currently under review by the Sentencing Council should be considered. The guidelines do not cover the core trading standards offences but, given the lack of guidance available elsewhere, it is worth knowing about them as they are likely to have some persuasive value. The definitive guidelines are yet to be published but, if introduced in similar form to the draft, will probably result in larger fines for serious offences committed by big organisations, especially given the use of turnover in determining the appropriate level of fine. The changes are not intended to alter the level of sentencing for the less serious offences, or for non-corporate offenders. Enhanced consumer measures aimed at compliance and choice may not be as obviously expensive, but will cost traders indirectly Find out more The PowerPoint slides used for the talk outlined here are available from Gough Square Chambers website. Credits Published You might also like Based on a talk delivered by Iain MacDonald, Tuesday 29 September, 2015 Satisfaction guaranteed October 2015 of Gough Square Chambers, at CTSI Conference in July. Images: retrorocket / Shutterstock To share this page, click on in the toolbar