ACCC won’t appeal Woolworths unconscionable conduct decision

16 December 2016

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will not appeal the judgment of Justice Yates, which dismissed the ACCC’s claim that Woolworths Ltd (Woolworths) had engaged in unconscionable conduct in its dealing with its suppliers through its “Mind the Gap” scheme.

“The ACCC has considered this judgment carefully and decided not to appeal,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“In particular, the ACCC has noted the acceptance by the Court of the evidence given by Woolworths executives, and the Court’s comments on the ACCC’s reliance on documents to establish its case. The ACCC will take these comments into account in its consideration of future cases on unconscionable conduct, including in the supermarket sector.”

“The ACCC will continue to monitor industry compliance with the Australian Consumer Law in addition to the new Food and Grocery Code of Conduct that came into full effect in July this year,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC will not be deterred from pursuing claims of unconscionable conduct where appropriate, especially in relation to supply chain issues.

Notes to editors

On 10 December 2015, the ACCC instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Woolworths Limited, alleging it engaged in unconscionable conduct in dealings with a large number of its supermarket suppliers, in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law.

On 8 December 2016, Justice Yates found that the Woolworths “Mind the Gap” scheme was not unconscionable.

Release number: 
MR 245/16
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