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The court granted permission for the applicants to continue to act as directors of, and be involved in the management of, certain companies within the Fourfront Group. The applicants offered disqualification undertakings following an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) which found breaches of competition law within the group. The CMA is increasingly flexing its muscles in this area, with nine of the 12 competition disqualifications that have been obtained by the CMA having been secured in the last year, and this was the first application for permission to act as a director following a competition disqualification. Written by Christopher Buckley, barrister at Radcliffe Chambers, who appeared for the claimants.
Re Fourfront Group Ltd and others  EWHC 3318 (Ch)
This was the first occasion on which the court considered competition disqualifications.
The relevant sections (ss 9A-9E) were inserted into the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 (CDDA 1986) in 2003, but the first disqualification was not obtained by the CMA until December 2006. The CMA is now looking to make greater use of its power to apply for disqualification orders/accept disqualification undertakings and has obtained 12 disqualifications, including nine in the last year, all by way of undertaking.
In terms of how the court will approach applications for permission to act in competition cases the following is of note:
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