Although many of the headlines following yesterday's Queen's Speech will be taken up by the new immigration controls that were announced (click here for our own news story on the topic), consumer groups will be celebrating the announcement of the draft Consumer Bill of Rights.
The full text of the draft bill is to be published later on in the summer but, following on from last summer's consultation by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills together with statements made by the business minister, Jo Swinson, we already have a fair idea of what it will contain.
At present, consumer protection legislation is spread amongst a substantial number of pieces of legislation and can be a bit of a minefield to the uninitiated (and even to the professional!). The draft bill will condense all of those pieces of legislation into one supersized one-stop-shop which will cover - amongst other things - goods, services, and unfair contract terms.
The new consumer law will also finally recognise the digital age and will provide protection for digital purchases such as downloaded music, games, ebooks and films. The draft bill is also expected to definitively set out the amount of time that consumers have to reject faulty goods or seek their repair, replacement or a full refund. Furthermore, it is also expected that Trading Standards will be given new powers to go to court to obtain an order against a trader to pay compensation where the new consumer law has been breached.
Since consumer law has not been devolved the provisions of the new bill will be applicable throughout the whole of the UK. We will report further on the full detail of the draft bill once it has been published but, for now, today's announcement seems a welcome step in the right direction.