OFT prioritisation of competition law enforcement

OFT statement (2 pages, PDF) on its approach to prioritising its competition law enforcement action. The document provides a series of steps and an illustrative and non-exhaustive list of criteria to be considered by the OFT.

A preliminary test is whether the OFT is best placed to enforce the law. This seems to include a question as to whether private enforcement would be as or more effective, without reference to the costs (whether financial or in terms of management time) that such action would impose on private enforcers. It also appears to imply that the OFT will not act if its action would not reduce the harm caused by illegal conduct, e.g. for a past abuse which can no longer be remedied.

Subject to that preliminary test, the OFT will be guided by considerations of the reduction in consumer harm that could result from its action, the deterrent effects of enforcement, the apparent degree of culpability of the accused, the precedent value of enforcement action, and public relations effects — considered in the light of the use of OFT resources and the likelihood of success for any enforcement action.

Filed under Guidance, OFT.

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