More power for business suppliers in relation to commercial debts?
The Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 (the Act) created a right for most business to business suppliers to claim at least 8% a year interest on overdue payments for goods or services, in addition to a fixed sum and any reasonable costs incurred in recovering the debt.
The Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (the Regulations) came into force on 26 February 2018 and extends the powers of representative bodies (including the Confederation of British Industry, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Forum of Private Business) to challenge the use of “grossly unfair” payment terms and practices in contracts made on or after the commencement of the Regulations and to which the Act applies.
The representative body may apply to the High Court to challenge the following terms or practices:
• The length of payment periods.
• The right to interest for late payments.
• Compensation arising out of late payment.
The High Court has the power to grant an injunction to restrain application of, or reliance upon the contract term if it is considered to be grossly unfair.
Interestingly, the references to small or medium enterprises (SMEs) referred to in the preceding 2002 regulations have been removed from the Regulations so High Court proceedings may be brought on behalf of a supplier of any size, not just SMEs.
Construction Unit, contact details:
Head of Construction, Jan Grimshaw, e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Solicitor, Joanne Pritlove, e: email@example.com