Has the UK opened the floodgates to private enforcement of competition law?

January 30, 2013

(by Sebastian Peyer) Private antitrust enforcement is the least effective part of competition law in the UK. Yesterday, the government said what it intended to do about it. Its outline for a new regime of private actions in competition law followed a consultation on options for reform in 2012. It proposes fixes for a number of well-known litigation problems such as the limited jurisdiction of the specialist Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT). However, of potentially greater interest to consumers and businesses will be the introduction of opt-out class actions. The debate about opt-out class actions has been fierce on national and EU levels but this is still a surprising move – will it work? Read the rest of this entry »

The Significance of China’s First Fine on an International Cartel

January 17, 2013

(by Andreas Stephan) On 4 January 2013, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced that CNY 353 million (around £35m) would be paid by six South Korean and Taiwanese manufacturers of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels for price fixing during 2001-2006. Never before had China imposed a cartel fine on foreign firms. Indeed this first instance of Chinese international cartel enforcement involved both settlements and a leniency application from a revealing firm in return for immunity.  But should China’s venture into international cartel enforcement be treated as a welcome development? Read the rest of this entry »

Do Pub Tenants need a Special Regulator to Adjudicate Contracts with Pub Owners?

January 15, 2013

(by Morten Hviid) On January 8th Business Secretary Vince Cable announced plans for an Independent Adjudicator to address unfair practices in the British Pub industry.  It will apply to rents and beer ties (exclusive purchasing agreements) between pub owners and their tenant publicans, but only if the former own at least 500 pubs (known as pubcos).  The Adjudicator will be based on the untried model being introduced for supermarkets.  This proposal arises from prolonged lobbying by part of the industry, and in particular from the Campaign for Real Ale [CAMRA] and extensive public scrutiny by Select Committees and competition authorities, though the latter did not recommend this intervention.  After many attempts to generate self-regulation, the government now wants to impose a “solution”.   But what is the problem that the government seeks to redress? Read the rest of this entry »