UK government consults on Radical Proposals to Promote Antitrust Damages Actions

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The UK's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills ("BIS") is seeking views on how to boost antitrust damages actions. As stated in the consultation document, "Research by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) shows that businesses view the present approach to private actions as one of the least effective aspects of the UK competition regime." The consultation proposes a number of far-reaching and quite radical changes to the existing regime, as detailed below.

Collective Actions

BIS is analysing obstacles to bringing "collective actions", which see consumers and businesses grouping together to seek redress from antitrust infringers. Such collective actions are considered to be a necessary element of effective private antitrust enforcement because the loss incurred as a result of anti-competitive conduct is often spread around a large number of individuals and therefore no one individual has suffered a sufficient amount of loss to merit litigation. The goal is to make it easier to identify claimants and enable them to group together.

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