Opinion, Updates & Newsletters
In a case which has its origins at the introduction of
competition in the water sector in England and Wales, Albion Water
Limited ("Albion") has finally succeeded in obtaining at least some
recompense in its struggle to compete with incumbent Welsh water
monopolist, Dŵr Cymru.
24 April 2013
In a long-awaited and ground breaking judgment on 5 March 2013,
the Brussels Court of Appeal acknowledged the existence of legal
professional privilege for in-house counsels who are members of the
Belgian Institute of In-house Counsel ("IBJ/IJE"). The judgment
also imposes significant restrictions on the use of digital search
methods by the Belgian Competition Authority ("BCA").
24 April 2013
The UK Government has
announced reforms to the UK competition regime that aim to promote
more litigation in competition cases, particularly by small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Government has tried to
steer a path between making it easier for businesses to bring cases
and avoiding what it sees as the excesses of a"US-style litigation
culture". The reforms are likely to result in more
competition risk for businesses engaged in potentially
anti-competitive activities - and more opportunities for their
victims to seek redress.
31 January 2013
On 31 August 2012, the Belgian Competition Council issued a
conditional clearance decision in a merger case involving Swissport
Handling and Flightcare, two providers of cargo ground handling
16 October 2012
Competition & Regulatory
The UK Government has modified slightly its proposed reform of
the criminal cartel offence. However, the new definition of
the offence still raises serious concerns that a wide range of
commercial activities will potentially be criminalised. The
Government should back down from this reform altogether.
11 October 2012
In its decision of 30 July 2012, the Belgian Competition Council
imposed a fine of 245,530 Euros on French company Presstalis for
abuse of dominant position by applying its so-called "BSC" rebate
scheme between 2000 and 2004. The scheme granted rebates to French
publishers that allocated their exports to Belgium, Switzerland and
Canada exclusively to Presstalis. The Council found that the scheme
was loyalty-inducing and restricted competition on the market of
exports of French newspapers and magazines on the one hand, and the
Belgian distribution market on the other.
19 September 2012
The Office of Fair Trading ("OFT") has issued
revised guidance on how it will set financial penalties in
future competition law infringement cases. The most significant
change is the increase in the maximum starting point for penalty
calculations from 10 to 30 per cent of "relevant turnover" (defined
as revenue generated in the market affected by the infringing
behaviour), bringing the OFT in line with the European Commission
and many of its counterparts in other European Member States.
13 September 2012
On 8 August 2012, the Competition Appeal Tribunal ("CAT")
published its much anticipated judgment in the appeals brought by
Sky, Virgin Media, BT and the Premier League against Ofcom's 2010
decision to require Sky to offer wholesale access to its premium
sports channels at prices set by Ofcom (the "wholesale must offer
obligation" or "WMO"). In a significant victory for Sky, the CAT
concluded that Ofcom's core competition concern, which underpinned
the wholesale access requirement, was not supported by the
09 August 2012
The UK competition authorities have formally charged a major
hotel group and two online travel agents with breaking competition
(antitrust) law by fixing prices at which rooms are sold
online. The case potentially has major implications for all
hotel groups and online retailers of accommodation.
02 August 2012
AMP condemned by the Brussels Court of Appeal for abuse of dominant position.
19 June 2012
There is a large consensus that the current Belgian Competition Act, which dates from 2006, needs some revision, at the very least on a number of procedural issues. This is, in the first instance, the result of the Court of Justice's VEBIC judgement, but there have also been a few decisions from the Competition Council and the Court of Appeal highlighting some shortfalls.
08 June 2012
In an interim order issued on 22 May 2012, the President of the Competition Council ordered a warehouse keeper storing certified Robusta coffee to maintain a minimum amount of loading (at least 500 ton on average) per working day. This is to be measured at the end of each month.
08 June 2012
Financial Services Regulatory
The Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive ("AIFMD" or the Directive) creates a European-wide framework for regulating managers of ‘Alternative Investment Funds’ ("AIF") (referred to in the Directive as ‘Alternative Investment Fund Managers’ ("AIFM")) and imposes restrictions on “marketing” AIF to investors in the EU.
23 April 2012
Cases C-403/08 and C-429/08: Football Association Premier League Ltd & others vs QC Leisure & Others / Karen Murphy vs Media Protection Services Ltd
In October 2011, we reported the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decision in two joined cases. In that decision, the ECJ was answering questions referred to it by the High Court in two UK cases.
20 March 2012
Competition & Regulatory
The UK Government has published its much anticipated response to last year's consultation on reform of the UK competition regime.
16 March 2012