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Consumer Scotland Act 2020

Section 21 – Duty to have regard to consumer interests

50.Section 21 places a duty on relevant public authorities, when making decisions of a strategic nature, to consider the impact on consumers in Scotland, and the desirability of reducing harm to consumers in Scotland.

51.This duty does not oblige any public authorities subject to it to give consumer interests more weight than any other consideration and does not preclude such a public authority from ultimately taking decisions that have an adverse impact upon consumers in Scotland, but it does require that authority to have regard to the impact on consumers in Scotland and the desirability of reducing harm to them.

52.The Scottish Ministers will, through regulations, set out which persons will be subject to the duty. It should be noted that the term “person” is defined widely in schedule 1 of the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 to include “a body of persons corporate or unincorporated and a partnership constituted under the law of Scotland”.

53.These regulations may also specify whether a person is subject to the duty when carrying out all of its functions, or only specified functions. Before making regulations, the Scottish Ministers must consult such persons as they consider appropriate. This consultation must always include any person whom they intend to designate as a relevant public authority who is not currently so designated.

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