Lord Tyrie, the Chair of the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) has published his preliminary advice on reform to the UK competition law regime.
On 21 February 2019, his outline for reforms was published on the CMA website. The proposals are apparently aimed at ensuring the legal framework is robust enough to protect consumers and ensure public confidence in a digital age. They include:
- An overriding duty for the CMA to promote consumer interest, rather than competition for consumer benefit.
- A power for the CMA to carry out information-gathering exercises even where no formal investigation has commenced.
- Harsher individual penalties for serious breaches of consumer and competition law.
- A change in appeal standard towards a judicial review standard, rather than an appeal on the merits, in theory reducing the frequency and duration of appeals to the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
- Higher rewards for whistle-blowers.
- Imposing a mandatory merger control filing regime for transactions above a certain threshold.
- A power for the CMA to impose fines on companies which fail to comply with remedies imposed pursuant to a market investigation.
His full response can be read here.
It looks to be an exciting time for competition-law practitioners, as legislators and regulators scramble to keep up with the effects digitalisation is having on industries and consumer welfare.
Please contact Tim Cowen if you have any questions regarding competition law matters in the UK.