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1. There is a large body of law governing advertising.
Neither this Section nor Appendix II purport to
comprehensively or accurately set out that body of law.
Nevertheless, the following will be of general guidance
in describing the wider background against which the
ASAI operates.

2. The Consumer Information Act, 1978, makes it an
offence to publish any advertisement that is likely to
mislead and thereby cause loss, damage or injury to
members of the public to a material degree. At the time
of publication, under the European Communities
(Misleading Advertising) Regulations, 1988, it is open to
any person to apply to the High Court for an order
prohibiting the publication of misleading advertising.
There are also statutory requirements affecting the
advertising of certain products and services, including
alcohol, tobacco, medicinal products and credit services,
and in relation to the advertising of employment
opportunities. The provisions of the Gaming and
Lotteries Act, 1956, are relevant to sales promotions
involving prizes. In addition, the Trade Marks Act, 1996,
and the law of passing off are relevant with respect to
comparative advertising. This legislation provides a
valuable statutory back-up to the ASAI. A list of
statutes, statutory instruments and other codes affecting
advertisements and promotions is contained in
Appendix II.

3. At the time of publication, it is anticipated that the
Unfair Commercial Practices Directive will be
transposed into Irish law in 2007 by a single Act. This
Act will consolidate and replace some of the current
consumer legislation, including the Consumer
Information Act, 1978, and, in the context of business
to consumer advertising (but not business to business
advertising), the European Communities (Misleading
Advertising) Regulations, 1988. In particular, this Act
will introduce a general prohibition on unfair
commercial practices, which will add a new element to
consumer protection legislation in Ireland.

4. Direct marketing advertising is also subject to
regulation under Irish law. The Data Protection Acts,
1988 – 2003, apply in this area if the direct marketing is
directed to an identifiable person. If the direct
marketing is made by electronic means such as fax or
e-mail, the European Communities (Electronic
Communications Networks and Services) (Data
Protection and Privacy) Regulations, 2003, must be
complied with.

5. The ASAI is not a law enforcement body and does not
provide legal advice. The self-regulatory system is
subordinate to and complements legislative controls on
advertising and sales promotions and provides an
alternative, low-cost and easily accessible means of
resolving disputes. It encourages, and provides a means
for, the acceptance of standards of practice which in a
number of areas go beyond those which are required by
law, while not constraining reasonable expressions of
freedom of speech. It provides a flexible and sensitive
means of dealing with matters of taste and decency that
might be difficult to judge in law but which can
fundamentally affect consumer confidence in, and
receptiveness to, advertising, as well as the reputation of
the advertising industry. It does not prejudice
consumers' or advertisers' rights under law.

6. The procedures and the adjudications of the ASAI do
not prejudice any party's protection under the law.
The ASAI does not wish to duplicate the work of other
regulatory bodies and complaints are not normally
pursued if they involve matters that should be resolved
in the Courts or if any of the parties has initiated legal
action with a view to commencing, or has commenced,
litigation or another alternative dispute resolution
process. A decision of the ASAI does not deprive a
consumer or an advertiser of the right to take further
action or prejudice any rights under the law.

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