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By John Cassels
On 1 April 2014, the UK's competition enforcers the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and Competition Commission (CC) will be abolished. Their functions will be transferred to the new Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) which was established under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA13). The CMA will be the UK's economy-wide competition authority responsible for ensuring that competition and markets work well for consumers.
Recent announcements about the CMA suggest that there will be a substantial increase in the frequency and ferocity of enforcement activity in the UK once the CMA 'goes live'. For example:
The CMA, in any event, benefits from enhanced powers when compared to the current enforcers. In antitrust investigations it will have the power to compel executives to submit to interview; when it publishes notice of investigation it may name the parties involved; and it will have extended powers to impose fines for failure to comply with investigations. It will also have the power to impose fines of up to 30% of turnover in the market affected by any infringement.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is currently consulting on the first set of guidance documents for the CMA: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/competition-and-markets-authority-guidance-part-1
If you would like to discuss these issues, please do not hesitate to contact John Cassels at email@example.com.