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On the 12 June 2014, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued its provisional report and recommendations to combat competition concerns in the private motor insurance industry. The report and proposals follow initial examination of the industry by the CMA’s predecessor, the Competition Commission. The provisional report will send shockwaves through the insurance industry, perhaps most of all to price comparison sites whose method for receiving low prices looks under threat. The CMA’s aim and that of the proposed –Read More–

On 20 May 2014, the UK competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), provisionally reaffirmed the view of its predecessor the Competition Commission (CC) and upheld a ban on Eurotunnel, the channel tunnel operator, from continuing to operate a ferry service between Dover and Calais. The provisional decision is significant as it demonstrates that the UK regulator will continue (in their view) to vigorously enforce competitive markets, even if that enforcement amounts to a ban on access to market –Read More–

On 20 May 2014, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced a Market Study which will look into the provision of higher education in England and what steps, if any, could be taken to improve competition and regulation in the sector. Three months earlier, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) had published a report on competition in the higher education sector. In that earlier report the OFT recommended that the CMA work with interested parties to obtain their views on –Read More–

The new EU Directive on Freezing and Confiscation of Instrumentalities and Proceeds of Crime in the EU came into force this week. The key aim of the directive is to create a common set of minimum rules for the detection, tracing and confiscation of proceeds of crime across the EU. The measure has to be implemented into the national law of Participating EU Member States (e.g. EU except UK & Denmark) by 4 October 2016. Background According to UN estimates, –Read More–

On 13 June 2014, the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 (the “new Regulations”) will come into force, replacing the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling Regulations) 2000 and the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumers Home or Place of Work Regulations 2008 (known as the Doorstep Selling Regulations). They will apply to all customer contracts for the supply of goods and services. The new Regulations are intended to become a one-stop shop for the UK’s implementation of the EU Consumer Rights Directive which in turn was intended to –Read More–

On 29th April 2014, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) published a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU sets out the basis on which CMA and the SFO will co-operate to investigate and/or prosecute individuals in respect of the criminal cartel offence, established by section 188 of the Enterprise Act 2002 (EA02), where serious or complex fraud is suspected. Proceedings for the criminal cartel offence under section 188 can only be instituted by the Director of the –Read More–

On 7th April 2014, the UK Court of Appeal (“COA”) affirmed in The Office of Fair Trading v Somerfield Stores Ltd & Anor [2014] the legal finality in admitting liability in respect of regulatory decisions. The decision of the COA further establishes the principle that once a right of appeal had been extinguished for a party against a regulatory decision and the party has admitted liability, exceptional circumstances to extend this time to appeal did not include the other parties –Read More–

The new French Consumer Protection Law (“Loi Hamon”) was adopted by the French National Assembly on February 13, 2014 and was promulgated on March 17, 2014. This law has many implications for businesses, notably for the stricter rules on the payment terms. In France, any producer, service provider, wholesaler or importer must communicate its terms and conditions to any purchaser of goods or services acting as a professional. They may of course also agree to special conditions of sale. Please click here to read our –Read More–

On 5 February 2014 we reported on how the Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”), now the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”), had accepted binding commitments from, Expedia and the Intercontinental Hotel Group to change their online booking practices by requiring that customers sign up for the online travel agencies (“OTA”s) membership scheme to view specific discounts on some hotels. The full story and the reasons behind the commitments can be found here. In an unexpected turn, on 2 April –Read More–

On 1 April 2014, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) comes into force as the central UK competition regulator. Born under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, the CMA replaces the competition regulator functions of the Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) and the Competition Commission (“CC”). Like those institutions, the CMA will be responsible for UK merger control, market investigations, cartel prosecutions and co-ordination with concurrent sectoral regulators such as the CAA and Ofgem. The reasoning behind this shake-up –Read More–

On March 27 2014, Ofgem, the UK energy regulator, announced its provisional decision to refer the UK energy market to the new UK super regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) for a full market investigation. Ofgem will now hold a consultation on whether their provisional decision to ask for a market investigation should be confirmed. Interested parties have until 23 May 2014 to respond when the consultation closes. If confirmed the CMA (which comes into force on April 1st –Read More–

On March 12 2014, the European Parliament formally approved a new draft Data Protection Regulation. The support was overwhelming, with 621 Members voting for the Regulation with only 10 against and 22 abstaining. Proposed reforms to the EU Directive on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (Directive 95/46/EC) were first published in January 2012 as part of the European Commission’s efforts to modernise data protection rights –Read More–

On 3rd March 2014, the European Commission’s Antitrust Department (DG Comp) published an important policy paper which provides an interesting insight into when the Commission chooses to pursue cases either under the traditional prohibition decision procedure or the commitment procedure. In enforcing the EU competition rules DG Comp can make use of two procedures: (i) Prohibition procedure:- Under this procedure the Commission passes a prohibition decision under Article 7 of Council Regulation 1/2003 condemning the offensive conduct and usually imposing –Read More–

With the economic upturn becoming front-page news, small business owners may be relieved to hear that regulators are continuing in their crusade to create a more competitive lending environment to allow small businesses to aid the economic recovery. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has announced an update to it’s market study of financing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and confirmed that the case will be taken over by the Competition and Market Authority (CMA). The CMA comes into –Read More–

On 27 February 2014, the European Commission opened a consultation inviting comments on a proposal to extend the validity of the liner shipping consortia block exemption (Regulation 906/2009). Liner shipping consortia are groups of independent liner shipping operators who agree to provide joint maritime cargo transport services to rationalise their operations and minimise costs. Adopted in September 2009, Regulation 906/2009 replaced an earlier consortia block exemption, Regulation 823/2000, from its expiry on 26 April 2010 (OJ 2009 L256/31). Regulation 906/2009 –Read More–

On 17 February 2014, the English Court of Appeal ordered the Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) to reconsider its earlier decision which struck down Ofcom’s (the UK telecom regulator) decision to make Sky provide Sky Sports channels on a wholesale basis to BT, their leading competitor in the pay-TV market. The case goes back to a 2010 ruling when Sky was ordered by Ofcom to supply Sky Sports to other pay-TV providers under its powers derived from the Communications Act 2003. –Read More–

The Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”) launched a market study into retirement income on February 14th following their own report that the pension annuities market was not working well for consumers. Annuities are a guaranteed income for life. They are a financial product purchased by those turning their accumulated pension earnings into income upon retirement. Perhaps the most significant feature and worrying aspect of the report is the fact that eight of out ten consumers who purchase their annuity from –Read More–

On 11 February 2014, the European Commission ordered Poland to recover over €22million it had allocated to the building and running of a new airport in Gdynia, northern Poland. The state aid was granted by the Gdynia and Kosakowo region for the building of a new commercial airport on the site of a current military airport. The decision acts a reminder of the analysis the Commission will undertake when deciding whether state aid has been allocated legally or not. In –Read More–

On January 30, 2014, the UK’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) published final principles for online and in-app games and games producers, which must be implemented by April 1, 2014. Failure to do so can result in enforcement action by the OFT, or the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) when it replaces the OFT and begins full operations on April 1. Once amendments to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations are adopted, consumers will also have a direct right –Read More–

On the 10 February 2014, the UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey, called for the market share and profit margins of the UK’s largest gas suppliers to be investigated. Mr Davey suggested that the fact that the largest 6 gas companies have an average profit margins of around 6% in gas supply whilst their electricity supply operates at a margin of under 2%, must be investigated. He singled out British Gas in particular due to –Read More–