The Changing Structure of Competition Enforcement in the UK: The Competition Appeal Tribunal between Present Challenges and an Uncertain Future

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Abstract

This article seeks to analyse the role and function of the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in the face of the current debate arising from the proposals for reform tabled by the UK Government and concerning both the Tribunal’s powers to hear competition damages claims and its jurisdiction in respect of the scrutiny of competition decisions.

In respect to the former, it will be argued that the reforms being tabled and potentially affecting its powers to hear actions for damages under section 47A and B of the Competition Act 1998 should be welcomed as a means of facilitating access to justice on the part of the victims of competition infringements. Although concerns remain as to the practicalities of these actions, including the availability of funding, these proposals remain consistent with the Government’s commitment to endowing would-be competition plaintiffs with an effective remedy to obtain relief from their injuries. As regards the latter, the article will submit that the outright abolition of the ‘on the merits’ review, while being easier to justify in respect of ‘regulatory appeals’, may lead to a ‘disproportionate’ inroad in the right to a fair trial and to a fair procedure enjoyed by the addressees of competition infringement decisions.

This article will conclude that an undeniable tension seems to characterize the future development of the CAT's jurisdictional remit: if the UK Government is resolved to invest it with stronger powers vis-à-vis damages’ actions, its attempt at introducing less intensive forms of judicial scrutiny of appeals brought against CMA's or sector regulators’ decisions is likely to have unpredictable consequences for the continuing observance of the due process standards to which the public enforcement of the competition rules is subject.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Antitrust Enforcement
Early online date3 Nov 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015

Keywords

  • competition
  • UK
  • EU
  • judicial review

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