Published in Issue 2, December 2018

The historically endorsed principle of caveat emptor is argued to have been substantially eroded by the implied terms of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and judicial attitudes toward freedom of contract and party autonomy. This paper explores the approach of modern law in respect of legal certainty and the extent to which the codification of the law of sale fulfils the expectations of buyers and sellers. Furthermore, the deviation from a laissez faire attitude in favour of one of judicial and legislative intervention is examined in light of the requirements imposed by the key implied conditions of satisfactory quality and fitness for purpose. The article also considers the impact of the determination of the status of terms, concluding that the law in this area is unduly complex and technical. This extraneous intricacy supports a much needed and welcomed consolidation of this area of law recently introduced by the enactment of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 in the context of consumer sales.