On April 24, 2012, the UK government took a significant step towards private antitrust actions by publishing a consultation document on how best to encourage private sector challenges to anticompetitive behavior. This consultation must be seen in the broader context of efforts to develop private antitrust enforcement in the European Union. The UK has already established itself as a premier venue for private antitrust actions, and the case law on jurisdiction, privilege and access to leniency documents in follow-on actions is rapidly evolving.
The UK government envisages that new, more effective, measures are to be introduced as a complement to public antitrust enforcement by the UK Office of Fair Trading and the European Commission. In particular, the UK Government is consulting on a host of measures the most salient of which are the following:
- Establish the Competition Appeal Tribunal as the "go to" venue for antitrust actions in the UK;
- Introduce an opt-out collective actions regime;
- Promote Alternative Dispute Resolution;
- Measures to ensure that private actions effectively complement public enforcement.
The consultation runs until July 24, 2012. A copy of the consultation is available here.