CMA behavioural investigation process
CMA behavioural investigation process

The following Competition guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • CMA behavioural investigation process
  • Stages of an investigation
  • CMA decision making
  • CMA Procedural Officer
  • Third party complaints
  • Leniency and immunity
  • Whistle-blowing by individuals
  • Interim measures
  • Gathering evidence
  • Searching premises (dawn raids)
  • more

BREXIT: The law and practice referred to in this Practice Note may be impacted by Brexit. For further information on the potential impact, see: The effect of Brexit on UK competition law in a deal or no deal scenario.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigates allegations of anti-competitive behaviour that may have an impact in the UK (breaches of Article 101 or 102 TFEU or Chapter I or Chapter II of the Competition Act 1998). Investigations are carried out under the Competition Act 1998.

Investigations can start in a number of ways, including:

  1. a company involved in potential wrongdoing blowing the whistle (see further Leniency and immunity below)

  2. an individual involved in potential wrongdoing blowing the whistle (see further Whistle-blowing by individuals below)

  3. a third party making a complaint (see further Third party complaints below), or

  4. the CMA receiving general market intelligence which suggests that competition law has been breached (eg press reports and informal complaints).

Once it learns about alleged anti-competitive behaviour, the CMA will decide whether to launch an investigation based on factors set out in the 'Prioritisation Principles'. The CMA primarily focuses on cases where an investigation will have the greatest impact, the greatest chance of a successful outcome and will act as a deterrent to others.

If an investigation is launched, it will follow a set process. Those