Posted by Julie Clarke on 2 February 2010
On 27 January the NZ Minister of Commerce, Simon Power, released a discussion document on the introduction of criminal penalties for cartels.
See also article by Caron Beaton-Wells and Brent Fisse (Uni of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No 413, June 2009), ‘The Australian Criminal Cartel Regime: A Model for New Zealand’.
Submissions close on 31 March 2010.
Posted in Cartels, Competition Policy, Criminal Penalties, New Zealand, Price Fixing | Tagged: Cartels, criminal cartels, new zealand criminal cartels | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Julie Clarke on 22 September 2009
The ACCC has commenced proceedings alleging that three Queensland construction companies engaged in price fixing when tendering for Government construction projects between 2004 and 2007.
View ACCC Press Release.
Posted in Cartels, Price Fixing | Tagged: Price Fixing | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Julie Clarke on 2 July 2009
The Criminal Cartel Bill received Royal Assent on 26 June 2009 – it is now an Act (Act no 59 of 2009) and the cartel provisions will enter force after 28 days (24 July).
The ACCC has also released a Revised Immunity Policy for Cartel Conduct and associated interpretation guidelines. They will come into operation when the new cartel provisions come into force on 24 July. In addition to setting out the process for obtaining immunity for civil cartel conduct the new policy sets out the procedures for obtaining immunity in relation to criminal cartel offences, including the role of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) (see, in particular, Annexure B of the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth).
Posted in Cartels, Criminal Penalties, Guidelines, Immunity, Price Fixing | Tagged: Cartels, criminal cartels, immunity policy, royal assent | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Julie Clarke on 1 June 2009
The 20th Annual Competition Law Conference, organised by Chris Hodgekiss of the NSW Bar, was held in Sydney last Saturday 23 May, covering a range of current issues in competition law and policy.
The keynote speech of the Conference, ‘In Hope of Convergence – A Regional Perspective on Competition Law‘, delivered by High Court Chief Justice RS French has now been published online on the High Court’s website. Chief Justice French paid particular attention to the new Indian competition laws, the majority of which came into operation on 20 May 2009.
Other sesssions at the Conference covered the proposed conduct of cartel litigation following the introduction of criminal penalties (including ‘the ACCC enforcement perspective on serious cartels – some key issues and practical considerations‘ by Marcus Bezzi (Executive General Manager, Enforcement & Compliance Division, ACCC) and ‘The Role of the CDPP in the Prosecution of the Proposed Cartel Offence’ Graeme Davidson (Deputy Director, CDPP). Brent Fisse (Lawyer & Senior Fellow, Melbourne Law School) followed with the paper ‘Avoidance and Denial of Liability‘, assessing potential escape routes from the new cartel laws), the complexities of representative and class action proceedings in competition law (with Dr Peter Cashman and Ben Slade) and Mergers and the availability (or otherwise) of a ‘failing firm’ defence (courtesy of Dave Poddar (Partner, Mallesons) and Tim Grimwade (ACCC))
Posted in Cartels, Conferences, Criminal Penalties, Evidentiary Issues, Guidelines, Mergers, Price Fixing | Tagged: Cartels, class actions, competition law conference, conference, indian competition law, international competition law, Mergers | 1 Comment »
Posted by Julie Clarke on 3 December 2008
The much anticipated criminal cartel bill was introduced into Parliament today. The bill, EM and related material can be viewed at the bill home page.
Posted in Cartels, Criminal Penalties, Price Fixing | Tagged: cartel, criminal | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Julie Clarke on 26 November 2008
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce has made a ‘friend-of-the-court’ filing in a case alleging price fixing by four Chinese vitamin C manufacturers. The four companies involved are said to have captured the relevant market after eliminating rivals over a number of years through predatory pricing conduct. It is alleged that they then agreed to control export quantities and raise prices. China is defending the manufacturers, claiming ‘sovereign immunity’; for purposes of their motion to dismiss the Chinese manufacturers did not dispute the price-fixing allegations – they simply claimed that they were compelled to engage in that conduct by the Ministry.
On 6 November Judge Trager, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (In Re Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation 06-mdl-1738 (DGT)), rejected a claim by by the Chinese companies to dismiss the case “on the grounds that their price fixing activities were compelled by the Chinese government.” Judge Trager noted that “The Chinese government’s appearance as amicus curiae is unprecedented’. Judge Trager held that while the Ministry’s Brief was ‘entitled to substantial deference’ it would ‘not be taken as conclusive evidence of compulsion, particularly where, as here, the plain language of the documentary evidence submitted by the plaintiffs directly contradicts the Ministry’s position.’
Judge Trager noted that ‘the issue at this stage of the case is whether there is a factual dispute as to the alleged compulsion’ and concluded that ‘the record as it stands is simply too ambiguous to foreclose further inquiry into the voluntariness of the defendants’ actions’ and, accordingly, denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss.
The outcome of this decision will have significant implications for international competition law enforcement.
See also Kate Fazzini, ‘Antitrust Suit Proceeds Against Chinese Vitamin C Makers‘, NYLJ, 13 November 2008.
Posted in Cartels, Misuse of Market Power, Price Fixing | Tagged: Cartels, predatory pricing, Price Fixing | Leave a Comment »