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New homes and consumer rights: England and Australia compared

Philip Britton (Centre of Construction Law & Dispute Resolution, King's College London, London, UK)
Julian Bailey (CMS Cameron McKenna LLP, London, UK)

International Journal of Law in the Built Environment

ISSN: 1756-1450

Article publication date: 4 October 2011




The purpose of this paper is to contrast consumer laws in England and Australia in relation to residential building projects, and considers how the laws of England may be improved in light of the Australian laws.


The paper reviews consumer laws in both England and Australia, and examines the measures that are in place (or not) to protect consumers who engage builders or purchase a home that contains latent defects.


After comparing the laws of the two countries, the conclusion is made that English law could be improved by imposing regulations on builders, including by mandating the use of written contracts for building work which are required to contain particular terms, requiring builders to be licensed and insured, and by introducing a consumer‐friendly form of dispute resolution for home building disputes.

Practical implications

The paper recommends that there be law reform in England.


The paper provides (so far as the authors are aware) the first comparison of English and Australian consumer laws in relation to residential building work.



Britton, P. and Bailey, J. (2011), "New homes and consumer rights: England and Australia compared", International Journal of Law in the Built Environment, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 269-295.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Authors

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