The European Antitrust Review 2009

United Kingdom: Overview

01 January 1900

The UK competition regime consists of three main pillars: • a general competition law regime, set out in the Competition Act 1998 (CA98), which is based on clear prohibitions of anti-competitive agreements and concerted practices (the chapter I prohibition) and the abuse of market dominance (the chapter II prohibition)1 and is enforced by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and sectoral regulators;2 • a market investigation regime, set out in the Enterprise Act 2002 (EA02), under which the OFT or a sectoral regulator, or indeed a government minister, can refer an entire market to the Competition Commission (CC) for detailed investigation, and potentially remedial action, where it considers that any feature, or combination of features, of the market prevents, restricts or distorts competition; and • a merger control regime, also set out in the EA02, under which the OFT decides on whether to clear a merger or to refer it to the CC for an in-depth investigation and the CC ultimately decides on whether a merger should be cleared outright or be subject to one or more of a wide range of remedies.

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