Conferences and Training
Motor Law Conference 2002
Packed conference hears
block exemption changes explained
A record number of delegates attended the 2002 Motor Law Conference
at the Royal Automobile Club in London to hear Dr Sven Norberg, Director
of the Competition Directorate of the European Commission explain the
reasoning behind the proposals for the amendments to the motor industry
block exemption regulation which will replace the existing framework
in October 2002. Seftton Samuels of the SMMT commented on the proposals
on behalf of the vehicle manufacturers, and Mrs Sue Brownson OBE, Chairman
of the National Franchised Dealers' Association, on behalf of dealers.
A detailed report on the Commission's proposals, Dr Norberg's comments,
and the debate at the conference is in the January/February issue of
Other speakers at the conference also focused on legal changes which
will affect the industry. Geraldine Tickle from solicitors Martineau
Johnson explained how the proposed criminalisation of national competition
law could hinder cartel-busters. Under a new law due to come into force
at the end of the year, an individual involved in a cartel can face
a jail sentence of up to 5 years, but while the individual goes to prison,
the company he works for will escape with nothing more than a fine.
Stephen Groom, a marketing law specialist with solicitors Osborne Clarke,
warned that the industry may be in the last chance saloon on car advertising,
having accepted a number of adverse rulings from the ASA without challenge.
According to Mr Groom, elsewhere in the world, including other EU countries,
more repressive legislation on car advertising is already being introduced.
Debate in the afternoon focused on consumer protection issues. Trading
Standards chief Ed Chicken warned the industry to clean up its act,
and claimed that some of the largest motor industry companies are engaged
in sharp practice and downright dishonesty, flouting trading standards
legislation and driving down standards. Competition and consumer protection
goes together, pointed out Mr Chicken, and he called on the industry
to be readier to work with trading standards to tackle problem areas.
A session highlighting specific motor industry data protection issues
followed, with Elizabeth Dunn from the Information Commissioner's Office
explaining how they had dealt with a number of industry specific issues
that had been referred to them.
David Hoggett from the DTI then wound up the afternoon by discussing
the likely changes to UK law in order to implement the EC Directive
on Consumer Guarantees and Related Rights. The so called "two year guarantee"
period granted by the Directive was a myth, he said.
Papers from the conference are also available for purchase at £50.00
per set. Click here to print an order form (pdf
format) or (doc format)
or click here to contact us.
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