Who should pay for competition law enforcement?

May 23, 2011

(by Morten Hviid) Who should pay for the enforcement of competition law?  The current UK consultation suggests that in the main it should be [some of] the users. When considering how to finance enforcement, however, it is important to remember that this delivers positive externalities. Read the rest of this entry »

Separating Consumer Protection from Competition Enforcement: ‘if it ain’t broke, why fix it?’

May 11, 2011

(by Pinar Akman) Part of the UK government consultation on reform of the competition regime relates to whether the merged Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) should have ‘a clear principal competition focus’. As one reads on, it appears that the issue really is whether the CMA should have no consumer protection role at all and only have competition law powers. The Government believes that the scope of the activities of the CMA should not include any consumer powers or functions. It provides no substantive justification for this view.  Depriving the CMA of consumer powers and functions is alarming. Why? Read the rest of this entry »

Economic Regulation and Competitive Markets Make Uneasy Bedfellows

May 6, 2011

 (by Catherine Waddams )  In regulated UK industries, both the OFT and sector regulators can apply competition law (i.e. abuse of dominance or anticompetitive agreements).  The current UK consultation about reforming the competition regime asks for opinions about this concurrency of powers  across the Competition Authority and sector Regulators.  In particular, it seeks views on which agency should handle competition cases in the regulated sectors.  This question raises fundamental  issues about the relationship between economic regulation and competitive markets. Experience shows that they make uneasy bedfellows.  Read the rest of this entry »

Why Private Enforcement should be Reformed alongside Public Enforcement

May 3, 2011
(by Morten Hviid) Apart from a few words in the foreword by Vince Cable and four paragraphs in chapter 5, private enforcement is not mentioned at all in the UK consultation on reform of the competition regime. According to his foreword, the minister is keen to promote private-sector challenges to anti competitive behaviour, but says he will bring separate proposals in due course. So it may seem odd to comment on something which is almost not there.  However, by sidelining the discussion of private enforcement, I think the consultation is missing a trick – private enforcement is not a separable complement to public enforcement. Read the rest of this entry »