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Making Markets Work Well: The U.K. Market Investigations Regime

 |  September 9, 2014

Andrea Coscelli, Antonia Horrocks, Sep 11, 2014

Competition policy is recognized by the U.K. government as a key driver of productivity and growth. The CMA’s market investigations regime, which has had significant impact in the United Kingdom on a variety of key sectors such as groceries, airports, and banking, is a crucial tool in this regard. While the CMA’s merger and behavioral enforcement work focuses on identifying and preventing anticompetitive arrangements between parties, abusive conduct by single firms, anticompetitive mergers, and promoting compliance with competition law, the CMA’s markets work complements and supports the CMA’s competition enforcement and advocacy activities, and also its consumer protection functions. It looks at markets to identify structural features or behavior preventing them from functioning well and causing consumer detriment, and has powers to impose wide-ranging remedies necessary to address any adverse effects found. This article explains the history of the U.K. market investigations regime; the legal framework for the regime; reflects on past investigations — in terms of outcomes, procedures, and benefits to consumers; and looks forward to future CMA investigations.