CCPC consultations on policies and guidelines for exercising new competition law powers opening on 14 February

February 14, 2022

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has today announced a series of public consultations on how it intends to use the expanded competition law enforcement powers contained in the Competition (Amendment) Bill 2022, which is expected to come into force later this year.

Jeremy Godfrey, Chairperson of the CCPC, says:

‘Later this year, the CCPC will have the power to levy heavy administrative fines on companies which are found to have infringed competition law. We will also be able to offer reductions in penalties, or immunity, when a company involved in a cartel brings us compelling evidence that we can use against other cartel members. These new powers will allow us to more effectively challenge anti-competitive practices by businesses and, in turn, will help us to protect the interests of consumers and taxpayers.

We intend to adopt a number of policies and guidelines to provide transparency about how we will use these new powers, and to encourage active engagement with the CCPC on potential breaches of the law.

Before we finalise these policies and guidelines, we will consult with stakeholders so that the transition to our new regime can be as effective as possible. We are particularly keen to hear from the business community, legal advisers, experts in economics and from consumer advocacy groups.’

The public consultations will take place in stages with the first set of consultations opening today, 14 February.

The first consultation is seeking views on the CCPC’s new administrative leniency policy for cartels, and related documents, and on how the CCPC intends to approach decisions on whether to choose the administrative or criminal enforcement regime for suspected breaches of competition law. A consultation forum will also provide an opportunity for stakeholders to provide further feedback during the consultation period.

Later consultations will deal with topics such as how fines will be determined and access to file procedures.

Consultation documents and the full schedule for consultations are available at ccpc.ie/competitionlaw2022

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