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Competition law – do you know enough?

The competition regulator has warned of the consequences of price-fixing and anti-competitive practices after research showed many businesses were unaware how serious such offences are.

What has happened?

The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) is looking to raise awareness of the importance of competition law among businesses.

The move comes in the wake of research which revealed that across the North-East:

  • only 45% of businesses know that price-fixing could lead to imprisonment;
  • only 23% know that setting the price at which others can resell your product is illegal;
  • only 15% understand that reporting cartel activity could lead to a reward; and
  • only 8% have run training on competition law

Ann Pope, senior director of CMA’s Antitrust Enforcement unit, said: “The victims of anti-competitive activity can often be other businesses, so knowing what illegal behaviour looks like and how to report it can help small and medium-sized businesses protect themselves.

“The potential consequences of breaking the law are very serious. That is why it is important that all businesses know what to look out for and report suspected breaches to the CMA.”

What are the penalties?

The consequences of breaching competition law can include: a fine of up to 10% of a business’ annual turnover, disqualifications of up to 15 years for company directors and up to five years in prison for individuals involved in cartels.

How can Ward Hadaway help?

Given the risks, and the fact that taking steps to prevent or deal with anti-competitive behaviour can significantly reduce penalties, competition law is an area where getting specialist advice can be a prudent investment.

Our competition law specialists have many years of experience advising companies on a wide range of issues concerning competition regulation.

We can tell you what you should do next in light of the regulator’s renewed focus, whether this is training your staff, auditing your business or making sure others deal with you fairly.

If you would like to know more, we would be happy to arrange a free half hour consultation with one of our specialist competition lawyers.

For more details, please get in touch.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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