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In the period since the Competition Act 1998 revolutionised competition law in the UK, and the Enterprise Act 2002 completed the Labour Government’s programme for the development of ‘A world class competition regime’, the practice of competition law in the UK has developed at a remarkable pace. Competition litigation, in particular, as it is practised today would have been all but unrecognisable to practitioners before the Competition Act 1998 took effect in March 2000. We now stand on the cusp of a new wave of reform, with the Coalition Government preparing its response to consultation on its paper entitled ‘A Competition Regime for Growth: A Consultation on Options for Reform’ issued in March 2011. Against that background of reform – both past and future – this article reflects on competition litigation in the UK from a practitioner’s perspective, considering the Competition Appeal Tribunal’s (CAT) review and damages jurisdictions, the High Court’s treatment of competition law cases, the implications of the introduction of the cartel offence for civil practitioners, and offers some thoughts on what might lie ahead.
Helen Davies QC
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