Getting the Deal Through: Cartel Regulation 2014 - Ireland

06 January 2014

The following article was written by Niall Collins, Head of EU & Antitrust, Mason Hayes & Curran and Maureen O'Neill, Partner, Mason Hayes & Curran for publication in the Getting the Deal Through - Cartel Regulation 2014. To view this article as it originally appeared, please download the pdf document to the right. © Copyright Getting the Deal Through 2013. All rights reserved.

Legislation and jurisdiction

1 Relevant legislation

What is the relevant legislation?

The Competition Act 2002 (as amended) (the Act) sets out the statu­tory basis for competition law in Ireland.

2 Relevant institutions

Which authority investigates cartel matters? Is there a separate prosecution authority? Are cartel matters adjudicated or determined by the enforcement agency, a separate tribunal or the courts?

The Competition Authority (the Authority) is an independent statutory body responsible for applying Irish and EU competition law in Ireland, as well as informing the government, public authorities, businesses and the wider public about competition issues. The Authority investigates alleged breaches of the Act, and can either itself bring a summary prosecution in the District Court or, for more serious cases, recommend prosecution to the director of public prosecutions (DPP). To date, all prosecutions of cartel cases have been brought by the DPP.

The Authority has also been assisted by two detective sergeants seconded from the Irish police force. Since 2007, in telecommunication matters, the Authority has shared enforcement responsibility with the Irish sectoral regulator (ComReg).

3 Changes

Have there been any recent changes, or proposals for change, to the regime?

In October 2011, section 10 of the Act came into force. The section allows for the provision of information to juries to assist them in considering complex financial and economic evidence during trials for breaches of competition law. Section 10 provides that in a trial on indictment, the trial judge may order that copies of any or all of the following documents shall be given to the jury in any form that the judge considers appropriate:

  • any document admitted in evidence at the trial;
  • the transcript of the opening speeches of counsel;
  • any charts, diagrams, graphics, schedules or agreed summaries of evidence produced at the trial;
  • the transcript of the whole or any part of the evidence given at the trial;
  • the transcript of the closing speeches of counsel; and
  • the transcript of the trial judge’s charge to the jury.