UK competition regulation
UK competition regulation

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

  • UK competition regulation
  • UK competition law
  • EU or UK law?
  • UK regulatory structure
  • Structure of the CMA
  • Decision making–merger investigations
  • Decision making–antitrust investigations
  • Decision making–market investigations
  • Concurrent enforcement of competition law in the UK
  • Private enforcement of competition law in the UK

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.

UK competition law regulates anti-competitive conduct, merger control and ensures markets are competitive.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is the principal UK competition authority. The CMA was formed following the merger of the OFT and the Competition Commission. It assumed responsibility for enforcing competition law in the UK on 1 April 2014.

UK competition law

The competition law powers of the CMA and other UK competition authorities are:

  1. to enforce the prohibition on anti-competitive agreements and the prohibition on abusing a dominant position

  2. to bring criminal prosecutions against individuals responsible for implementing hardcore cartels (see The UK criminal cartel offence)

  3. to seek director disqualification orders against any directors involved in competition law breaches (see Director disqualification)

  4. to investigate mergers in the UK and block or seek remedies for those that result in a substantial lessening of competition, and

  5. launch investigations into any industries to ensure markets are competitive and seek remedies for those where there is an adverse effect on competition.

EU or UK law?

EU and UK law consists of legislation, court judgments and the decisions of regulators.

When investigating anti-competitive practices (ie anti-competitive agreements and the abuse of

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