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The Office of Fair Trading and Private Antitrust Litigation

Elizabeth Morony, Luke Tolaini, May 03, 2007

The UK Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) has issued a discussion paper on proposals to make redress for consumers and business for breaches of competition law more effective. It wants to facilitate private actions to enforce competition law in support of public enforcement by regulators but do so without giving rise to a “litigation culture.” The consultation notes that the main structures for effective private actions in competition law are already in place in the UK. The options aired in the paper are aimed, therefore, at improving the existing system. In particular, the OFT focuses on the practical barriers which have, to date, made consumers and small and medium-sized businesses reluctant to bring actions to seek compensation. The proposals are intended to allow consumers and businesses suffering losses as a result of breaches of competition law to recover compensation, both in claims for damages on a standalone basis and in follow-on cases brought after public enforcement actions.

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