Competition director disqualification orders
Competition director disqualification orders

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

  • Competition director disqualification orders
  • Director disqualification orders
  • Effects of competition disqualification orders
  • Examples of disqualification
  • Minimising risk—checklist

In the UK, if a company is found to have breached competition law and a director was involved in the wrongdoing (or should have been aware of it), a court order can be sought disqualifying a director from acting as a director of any company for up to 15 years. Any breach of competition law can lead to a director disqualification order.

These powers are on top of penalties that may be imposed on the company itself, such as fines, and criminal penalties that can be imposed on individuals.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance on competition disqualification orders. In addition, the CMA has jointly published with the Institute of Risk Management updated guidance to competition law risk for managers, directors and their advisors. The updated guidance features case studies, examples of best practice and forewords indicating the CMA's updated approach to competition infringement detection and enforcement. The CMA notes, in the updated guidance, that it will now consider disqualifications in all cases of competition law infringement.

For a tracker on the cases where the CMA has sought disqualification of directors, see UK competition director disqualifications—cases tracker.

Director disqualification orders

Whenever a company is found to have breached competition law, the CMA has the option of looking at the conduct of that company’s directors.

A court must make a competition disqualification order against a person if

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