Private competition litigation is continuing to develop in the United Kingdom. The courts and the Competition Appeal Tribunal are seeing an increase in the number and complexity of follow-on damages actions, often between foreign claimants and/or defendants. In addition, an increasing number of “standalone” competition disputes between private parties are being brought in the courts, in which the claimant alleges that the defendant is infringing or has infringed competition law.
Private competition disputes raise different issues from follow-on claims. First, the claimant must prove that an infringement has been committed: there is no prior Office of Fair Trading or European Commission d [...]
Here is an item that I co-wrote with my colleague Stephane Eljarrat.
When investigating cartel violations in Canada, the Competition Bureau’s tool of choice is the “search and seizure” (the Canadian equivalent of the “dawn raid” in Europe). The Bureau execises its search and seizure powers pursuant to judicially authorized warrants which it must obtain prior to searching a location and seizing records contained therein.
In a recent decision on the use of search and seizure powers generally in Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada addressed the question of whether a search warrant must expressly permit authorities to search computers or other electronic device [...]
In competition investigations, competition authorities receive substantial amounts of confidential business information, some of which will be commercially very sensitive. This information may be used in economic modelling or otherwise be used by the authority to identify anti-competitive conduct, effects or market structures. Some information may be exculpatory.
In a recent judgment (BMI Healthcare and others v. Competition Commission), the Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) had to assess the legality of arrangements put in place by the Competition Commission (“CC”) to establish, under restrictive access conditions, a data room in which parties’ advisers could review highly confi [...]
On 26 September 2013, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) issued two important judgments (Case C-172/12 P, El du Pont de Nemours and Others v Commission and Case C-179/12 P, Dow Chemical v Commission) in which it confirms that a parent company can be held liable and fined by the European Commission for the antitrust infringements of its 50:50 joint venture in the EU.
The judgments endorse the European Commission’s current hardened approach of attributing antitrust liability, wherever possible, to parent companies. This approach maximises the level of fines by enabling the European Commission to avail itself of a higher maximum fine limit based not just on the turnover of the [...]
Cartel enforcement in Canada is heavily dependent on the use of informants. This is explained by two principal factors. First, cartel conduct is, by its very nature, secretive and carried out in the shadows of business life. Second, Canada’s Competition Bureau, which is responsible for investigating cartels, is subject to budget constraints that limit its ability to expose and detect cartel conduct on its own.
In recognition of these realities, the Competition Bureau employs several tools to encourage informants to come forward with incriminating evidence. The best known of these tools is the Bureau’s Immunity/Leniency program, where the Bureau will recommend favourable prosecution and sente [...]
In its decision of 25 June 2013, the Polish competition authority (Prezes Urzędu Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentów, the “PCA”) has fined Sfinks Polska the amount of PLN 464,228.92 (approximately €107,000) for imposing fixed resale prices on its franchisees. It is worth noting that, while it is just one of many PCA decisions regarding vertical pricing restraints, it is the first regarding pricing restraints in franchise agreements (although the franchise concept has been used in Poland since the early 1990s).
Sfinks Polska is one of the largest restaurant chains operating in the casual dining sector in Poland and Europe.
In December 2012, the PCA instituted proceedings which examined [...]