The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance explaining the redress options open to victims of competition law breaches.
The guidance – Competition law redress: A guide to taking action for breaches of competition law – reflects changes in the law as a result of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which make it easier for individuals and businesses to seek redress for breaches of competition law.
These changes include:
- Allowing the Competition Appeal Tribunal to hear standalone competition claims where previously it could only hear cases where there was an existing infringement decision. There is also a new fast-track procedure to enable simpler cases brought by small businesses to be resolved more quickly at a lower cost.
- Enhanced collective actions and settlements, including opt-out actions with safeguards allowing meritorious collective claims to be brought more easily.
- Introducing a new power enabling the CMA or a sector regulator to approve voluntary redress schemes, which is intended to provide compensation for those who have suffered loss as a result of competition law infringements without having to go to court.
In addition the guide takes account of a European Directive which is due to be implemented in the UK later this year, which is intended to make it easier to claim for compensation when there has been a breach of European competition law.
Roland Green, CMA Senior Director with responsibility for Policy, said:
It is important that those who suffer harm from breaches of competition law are able to obtain effective redress.
We hope this guide will help consumers and businesses understand how to do so.
- The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority. It is an independent non-ministerial government department with responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law. For more information see the CMA’s homepage on GOV.UK.
- The Competition Act 1998 prohibits agreements, practices and conduct that may have a damaging effect on competition in the UK. The Chapter I prohibition covers anti-competitive agreements and concerted practices between businesses (‘undertakings’) which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the UK. Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) covers equivalent agreements or practices which may affect trade between EU member states. Any business found to have infringed the prohibitions in the Competition Act 1998 or the TFEU can be fined up to 10% of its annual worldwide group turnover.
- Details of the European Damages Directive are available on the European Commission’s website. Details of the UK Government consultation on implementing the Directive in the UK is available on GOV.UK.