Welcome to ‘Who’s Competing’ …

‘Who’s Competing?’ is a Competition Law & EU Law Blog maintained by Angus MacCulloch of Lancaster University Law School created to support and inform my competition law research and teaching. Should a legal development strike me as interesting or important I’ll use this blog to explain what’s going on.

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A Glimpse Inside the ‘Object Box’

Open Box

Case C-67/13 P Groupement des Cartes Bancaires (CB) ECLI:EU:C:2014:2204

It’s not often that the Court of Justice gets to address one of the core concepts that underlie the antitrust prohibitions, but in Groupement des Cartes Bancaires the CJEU has taken its second opportunity to discuss the nature of Art 101 TFEU ‘object’ agreements in as many years. At the end of 2012, in Expedia, the Court discussed whether an ‘object’ agreement needed to have an ‘appreciable’ effect on competition. In Groupement des CB the CJEU gets to the heart of what it is that makes an agreement fall within the ‘object box’.

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New Edition of Competition Law and Policy in the EU and UK

5th Edition Cover

The 5th Edition of the competition law textbook I co-author with Barry Rodger, of the University of Strathclyde, is due to hit bookshelves at the end of this month. There are many innovations in the this edition of the text, but one of the most significant is the plan to use this blog as a companion to the text.

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What Makes a Cartel Newsworthy?

German Sausages

The mainstream UK news media has today been gleefully reporting the large fines imposed by the Bundeskartellamt in the German Sausage cartel. What struck me as interesting is why that cartel, above so many others has broken out of the financial press and made the headlines?

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Would a Cartel Offence Prosecution be a VHCC for Legal Aid?

Legal Aid

Prof Cosmo Graham, from the University of Leicester, just posed me that very interesting question.

The #OpCotton ruling yesterday stayed a large City fraud prosecution because the defendants could not find Counsel willing to represent them at the reduced VHCC (Very High Cost Cases) rates now offered in Legal Aid cases. Many, see for instance David Allen Green in the FT and Alan Wagner in the New Statesman, have pointed out this may mean that VHCC cases are effectively unprosecutable in the UK. I don’t know if a Cartel Offence prosecution would normally fall into this VHCC class.

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Local Bans on Cheap Booze

Local Bans on Cheap Booze

I’m giving a presentation at the CLaSF Workshop on Thursday 1 May on the competition aspects of the Scottish Minimum Alcohol Pricing case, and this story caught my eye. It seems that are several ways in which steps to regulate alcohol consumption, and also public disorder, through the pricing mechanism cut across competition law. I think I’ll have to spend some more time on this and try and set out my ideas more fully.

COMP LAW: The EU competition lawyers’ toolkit

COMP LAW

There is a new Competition Law app for the iPhone and iPad – COMP LAW: The EU competition lawyer’s toolkit. As I was lucky enough to be sent a freebie copy I thought I’d pen a quick review.

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Thought of the Day: Stigma

I’m reading Daniel Sokol’s ‘Policing the Firm’ (2013) 89 Notre Dame LR 785, and I’m finding his discussion of the role of ‘stigma’ in cartel enforcement interesting.

It’s led me to think about compliance programmes. If firms want to be given credit for having an ‘effective’ compliance programme could the CMA/DG Comp insist that within that programme there are real sanctions in discipline, demotion, or dismissal for all officers or employees who were engaged in cartel activity?

Would that make a scheme a more effective part of creating the right corporate compliance culture?

Competition Law in Leisure Markets

Competition Law Scholars Forum

Interested in Sports or Entertainment? Fancy a trip to Madrid in the Autumn? Well the Competition Law Scholars Forum may have an event which is of interest!

The Competition Law Scholars Forum (CLaSF) will be running a workshop on 26th September 2014. The subject of the workshop will be the broad theme of Competition in Leisure Markets. We invite abstract paper proposals from researchers, scholars, practitioners and policy-makers in relation to any issue within this broad theme. We welcome theoretical, economics-driven, practice-based or policy focused papers, and we are interested in receiving abstracts for papers which may be focused on perspectives or experience at national, regional (eg EU), or international levels, or a combination.
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Minimum Alcohol Pricing Paper on SSRN

Malt Whisky

My latest Working Paper, entitled ‘Scottish Minimum Alcohol Pricing & EU Law’, which I will present at Queen’s University Belfast School of Law on the 3rd March 2014, has been published on SSRN.

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Nintendo vs Modchips

Nintendo vs Modchips

In one of my, increasingly frequent, excursions away from competition law into the wider world of EU law I consider the impact of the the Court of Justice’s judgment in Nintendo v PC Box on the legality of videogame console ‘modchips’ under EU and copyright law.

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