UK criminal cartel offence–pre-April 2014 [Archived]
Produced in partnership with Winston & Strawn LLP
UK criminal cartel offence–pre-April 2014 [Archived]

The following Competition guidance note Produced in partnership with Winston & Strawn LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • UK criminal cartel offence–pre-April 2014 [Archived]
  • What kind of activities will be caught?
  • Penalties
  • Powers of Investigation
  • Parallel proceedings against companies
  • Immunity from the cartel offence
  • OFT enforcement activity
  • Reform of the criminal cartel offence

ARCHIVED–this archived practice note provides information on pre—2014 criminal cartel offence and reflects the position prior to the entry into force of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2014 (1 April 2014). It is not maintained.

The criminal cartel offence prohibits individuals from engaging in cartel activity in the UK.

For the cartel offence to apply, there used to be a requirement that the individual must have dishonestly entered into one or more of the following arrangements:

  1. price-fixing

  2. output restriction

  3. market or customer allocation, or

  4. bid-rigging

The cartel activity must relate to products or services in the UK and be between individuals at competing companies.

The cartel offence may be committed even if the arrangements are not implemented or are unsuccessful. Instead, the question is whether an individual has made an agreement to engage in cartel activity (eg to fix prices), and whether he or she did so dishonestly; no competition law assessment will be required.

If an individual is being investigated under the cartel offence but does not live in the UK, he/she may be extradited to the UK to stand trial.

The criminal cartel offence changed on 1 April 2014, including the removal of the dishonesty requirement—for more on the current offence see The UK criminal cartel offence.

What kind of activities will be caught?

The criminal cartel offence