CCPC welcomes the new Competition (Amendment) Act 2022

July 4, 2022

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has welcomed the enactment of the Competition (Amendment) Act 2022. The Act transposes Directive 2019/1 (ECN+ Directive) into Irish law and expands the CCPC’s power to enforce EU and Irish competition law.

The Act was signed into law by President Michael D Higgins and will be commenced over the coming weeks.

Commenting on the new Act, Jeremy Godfrey, Chairperson of the CCPC, said:

“The Act marks the beginning of a new era in competition law enforcement. It gives the CCPC the power to fine companies that break competition law, for instance by engaging in cartels, bid-rigging or abusive market practices.

We are ready to use our new powers as soon as the Act comes into force. We have experienced teams in place to investigate suspected breaches of competition law, and we are introducing a leniency programme to encourage whistleblowing on secret cartels.

The new powers will greatly enhance our ability to ensure open competitive markets that work in the interests of consumers, businesses and all of Irish society.”

Notes:

Until now, Ireland was one of a very small number of European countries that only allowed for a company to be fined for breaching competition law if the case was proven in court to a criminal standard. This Act provides that fines can now be imposed by the CCPC for breaches of Irish and EU competition law on an administrative basis. These fines will be set drawing on EU competition fining norms.

The CCPC’s new powers will only apply on commencement of the Act, key elements of which are expected to be commenced in the coming weeks.

The new administrative leniency regime will operate alongside the CCPC’s current Cartel Immunity Programme.

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