The Handbook of Competition Enforcement Agencies 2012

United Kingdom

17 May 2012

The UK Enforcement Agencies Under the current UK competition law regime, enforcement is entrusted primarily to two bodies: the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the Competition Commission (CC). The OFT currently enforces both competition law (specifically, the prohibition of anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominance under the Competition Act 1998 (CA98) and articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union) and consumer protection law. It also decides whether to refer mergers to the CC for a more in-depth investigation, and potentially prohibition, and whether to refer entire markets to the CC for detailed review (known as a market investigation reference) under the Enterprise Act 2002 (EA02). The EA02 also provides for a specific criminal offence for individuals who dishonestly enter into seriously anticompetitive agreements, which is enforced by the OFT and Serious Fraud Office. The OFT's general competition enforcement and market reference powers (but not its criminal cartel powers) can also be exercised, in their respective sectors, by the specialist sectoral regulators.