A Guide to United Kingdom and European Union Competition by Nick Gardner

By Nick Gardner

This booklet offers with festival coverage from the viewpoint of a enterprise govt. It permits a hectic reader to head instantly to the company perform with which he's involved and from there to a precis of the specialists' therapy of that perform. whilst, it presents the reader who needs so as to add an appreciation of anti-trust compliance to his expert portfolio with a entire evaluate of the topic, including a consultant to invaluable assets of extra details.

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The European Commission has sought to build a comprehensive body of compliance rules and precedents with the express aim of influencing business conduct. That appears also to be the current intention of the UK authorities. The normal practice of the former Monopolies and Mergers Commission, on the other hand, was to base each judgement exclusively upon the direct consequences of the case before them, without explicit regard to its effect upon wider business conduct. While their judgements do, for the most part, present a readily discernible pattern, there have been a few exceptions which ± for a time at least ± faced businesses with some uncertainty.

The Secretary of State is free to ignore the Director-General's advice concerning merger references, and the legislation does not require him to reveal what advice he has been given, nor to give reasons for rejecting it. As regards individual cases, the Director-General enjoys almost total independence, but he cannot act independently on matters of competition policy. Although he has a strong influence upon the development of policy in his role as adviser to the Secretary of State, the final decisions on policy matters inevitably rest with the Secretary of State.

OJ C 372 of 9/12/1997) United Kingdom law For agreements which may affect trade within the United Kingdom, Chapter 1 of the Competition Act 1998 stipulates the same prohibitions as Article 81 of the Treaty of Amsterdam, subject to certain exclusions and exemptions. Exclusions The Act specifically excludes from the prohibition certain categories of agreement: (a) an agreement which would result in a merger or joint venture falling within the merger provisions of the Fair Trading Act 1973;2 (b) an agreement which is subject to competition scrutiny under other legislation; (c) an agreement which: ± is required in order to comply with planning obligations; ± is the subject of a direction under section 21(2) of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976; ± forms the constitution of a market regulated by a European Economic Area; ± relates to the operation of services of `general economic interest' or of a `revenue-producing monopoly'; ± is necessary to comply with a specified legal requirement; ± is necessary to avoid conflict with international treaty obligations; ± relates to a market which falls within the coal and steel provisions of the Treaty of Paris, or where it relates to production of or trade in `agricultural products' as defined in the Treaty and in 2 The exclusion may be withdrawn under the circumstances described in OFT Guide 416 Exclusion for Mergers and Ancillary Restrictions.

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