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Wednesday 22 July 2020

20-166MR ASIC will not appeal Federal Court decision on Westpac’s ‘responsible lending’ obligations

ASIC will not seek special leave to appeal to the High Court in the Westpac ‘responsible lending’ matter, following the full Federal Court’s 2-1 decision to reject its earlier appeal (20-149MR ASIC’s responsible lending appeal dismissed by Full Federal Court). 

While it would have been open to ASIC to seek special leave to appeal to the High Court to obtain a ruling on the construction of the statute, ASIC is mindful of the impact of the additional time required to resolve this matter in the current challenging economic circumstances.

ASIC will review its updated regulatory guidance RG 209 (Credit licensing: responsible lending conduct) and will consider what implications the Federal Court decision has for that guidance.

Any reform of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act (National Credit Act) to clarify further the enforcement of those principles is ultimately a matter for the Federal Government and Parliament.

Bearing in mind the economic circumstances, it is important to remember that under the National Credit Act, ‘responsible lending’ obligations do not apply, and never have applied, to loans made for business purposes.