Consumer and fraud law framed by the Court of Appeal following the secondary ticketing case involving Ed Sheeran and Adele tickets

R v Hunter and Smith [2021] EWCA Crim 1785; [2021] 11 WLUK 384 Court considered components of fraudulent trading, Companies Act 2006, s.993(1), in the “Ed Sheeran” ticket touting case where profit was made by reselling tickets for sporting and cultural events, in breach of ostensible restrictions imposed by event organisers.


The s.993(1) offence was not subject to limitations of conspiracy to defraud; no requirement for prosecution to prove intention to deceive.  Where criminal allegation is founded on breach of civil law, the judge must rule on the breaches before the jury decides the criminal issues.


The case involved the “fairness” and enforceability under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 of the event organisers terms and conditions of sale which impose restrictions on the purchase and resale of tickets and the risk of ticket nullity, the status in law of a “ticket” and the scope, effect and operation of the doctrine of “equity’s darling”.