CCP Seminar: Reforming the UK Cartel Offence

The CCP’s Spring seminar series continues on Friday 10th May as Peter Whelan (CCP and UEA Law School) offers his take on ‘Reforming the UK Cartel Offence‘. Since the UK reforms were first proposed back in 2011, Peter has been a prominent voice during the consultation period and beyond. An abstract for his seminar can be found below.


In March 2011, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (‘BIS’) began a public consultation on the reform of the UK competition regime. BIS initially proposed four different options for the reform of the UK Cartel Offence, the criminal law which provides for up to 5 years of imprisonment for convicted cartelists. In its final report in 2012 BIS advocated the removal of the ‘dishonesty’ element from the Cartel Offence and the ‘carve out’ from the offence of agreements made openly (‘Option 4’). On 25 April 2013 the Royal Assent was given to legislation implementing BIS’s recommendation: Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013. Entering into force later this year, this piece of legislation also provides for additional (controversial) amendments to the UK Cartel Offence.

This presentation aims both to explain and to examine critically this particular reform of the UK Cartel Offence. In order to do so, the presentation is divided into the following parts: Part I: Introductory Comments; Part II: BIS’s Consultation Document; Part III: My Response to the Consultation Document; Part IV: Other Responses to the Consultation Document; Part V: The Government’s Response; Part VI: Legislative Change; and Part VII: Final Comments.

See also Peter’s blog post from April 2012 on the rejection of ‘dishonesty’ under the reformed cartel offence.

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