Updated February 2 with CMA commentsThe UK’s antitrust watchdog has quietly increased its enforcement effort over the past three months, indicating a desire to shed its reputation as a toothless regulator. Given many small and medium-sized (SME) businesses don’t understand the nuances of competition law, it’s creating a perfect storm for their compliance advisers.
Five of the six cases opened by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) in 2015 came in November and December, and they all allege relatively basic breaches. They accounts for a sizeable portion of its 11-strong docket, following the closure of five cases last year (three on administrative grounds).
This acceleration should not be taken lightly; particularly in light of recent findings that only one-quarter of UK businesses have a good grasp of antitrust law.
“CMA is trying to increase its enforcement caseload and is going for low-hanging fruit first....