Consumer Law in New Zealand (2nd edition) By Kate Tokeley (Ed)

AuthorMatthew Barber
PositionSenior Lecturer, School of Law, University of Canterbury
Book Review 187
B K T ()
LN  N Z, 
M B *
e second edition of Consumer Law in New Zealand1 is the work of
eight academic authors, edited by Kate Tokeley, and follows some 14 years
after the rst edition,2 which wa s written entirely by Tokeley. Between the
two, LexisNexis published a nother consumer law textbook,3 but the more
recent work draws more heavily from the earlier text, albeit substantia lly
revised and rewritten. e authors of the second edition are highly-regarded
and have considerable expertise in the area s of their contributions.
e size of the market for New Zeal and legal textbooks dictates that ma ny
are written for use both in universities and in practice. Consumer protection
law in New Zealand is l argely a creature of statute and often involves bespoke
dispute resolution mechanisms – consumer disputes are seldom heard in the
High Court or above. is explains why, in addition to serving the academic
market, Consumer Law in New Zealand is aimed at policy-makers and
those who operate in and around the consumer-focused corners of the justice
Writing a New Zealand consumer law textbook involves grappling with
two issues, one conceptual and the other practical. e rst concerns the
meaning of consumer law, which naturally ha s implications for the content of
the book. e diculty is whet her to set out a comprehensive account of all
the laws that govern consumer transactions or instead to focus on those laws
that are aimed specically at consumers. e rst approach means including
all the general ru les of contract law that operate in the consumer sphere: oer
and acceptance, mistake, misrepresentation, unconscionable bargains, the
incorporation of terms et cetera.
e second approach means limiting focus to those provisions that protect
consumers in special ways. Statutes that expressly single out consumers or
consumer transactions, such as the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993, are
obvious examples. More dicult, however, are statutory protections that do
not dene consumers, but operate in circumstances that usually involve or
are likely to involve them. e problem with this approach is that it might
exclude from consideration laws that are of great signicance to consumer
transactions on the basis t hat they also apply to purely commercial exchanges.
1 Kate Tokeley (ed) Consumer Law in Ne w Zealand (2nd ed, LexisNe xis, Wellington, 2014).
2 Kate Tokeley Consumer Law i n New Zealand (Butter worths, Wellington, 20 00).
3 Bill Bevan, B ob Dugan and Virgi nia Grainer Consu mer Law (LexisNe xis, Wellington,
2009 ).
* Senior Lectu rer, School of Law, University of Ca nterbury.

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