The OFT has now published its final revised Guide to the OFT's investigation procedures in competition cases (the CA98 Procedures Guidance), which takes effect from today's publication.
The OFT has also published an updated note of the Procedural Adjudicator (PA) trial and a Summary of Responses to its consultation, which includes the OFT's views on the comments received from stakeholders.
Ongoing cases under the CA98 in which a Statement of Objections was issued prior to 18 July 2012 will continue to be governed by the decision-making model set out in the previous version of the OFT's guidance, dated March 2011.
In May, the OFT hosted a discussion event for external stakeholders, and has published a synopsis of the issues discussed at that event.
On 28 March the OFT announced the publication for consultation of a revised draft of its Competition Act 1998 Procedures Guidance. The primary purpose of this document was to consult on the OFT's proposal to introduce a new structure for the way the OFT makes decisions in investigations under the Competition Act 1998. The OFT also announced in this consultation document the extension of the trial of the Procedural Adjudicator's role for a further year (until 21st March 2013), with an expanded remit, and a number of other enhancements to its Competition Act 1998 investigation processes.
The OFT first published guidance on its Competition Act 1998 investigation procedures (OFT1263) and launched a trial of a Procedural Adjudicator role in March 2011.
Respondents to the OFT's consultation held in advance of this guidance in August 2010 suggested some additional changes which the OFT did not implement in the March 2011 guidance but noted at the time that it would consider further. Having reviewed the lessons learnt from developments in cases over the past year (including judgments of the Competition Appeal Tribunal) and international best practice, the OFT has identified a number of improvements to its procedures which would build on the changes already made. The improvements also address feedback from the public consultation issued by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on the reform of the competition regime.
The OFT consulted on a revised draft of its Competition Act 1998 Procedures Guidance to reflect the proposed new decision-making structure, the expansion of the role of the Procedural Adjudicator and the extension of its trial for a further year, as well as the other enhancements to its Competition Act 1998 procedures. The guidance is limited to the OFT's investigations under the CA98 and does not extend to investigations by sectoral regulators. The consultation closed on 19 June 2012.
The OFT first published A guide to the OFT's investigation procedures in competition cases (OFT1263) (pdf 845 kb) on 2 March 2011.
See also: OFT Chairman, Philip Collins' speech on CA98: Shaping the future of Competition Act cases, given at the OFT on 2 March 2011.
The OFT commenced a one-year trial of a Procedural Adjudicator role on 21 March 2011. In March 2012, the OFT decided to extend the Procedural Adjudicator trial for a further year (until 21 March 2013), and to expand the Procedural Adjudicator's role to include the chairing of oral hearings in Competition Act 1998 cases and the reporting to the relevant decision-maker(s), following the oral hearing, to highlight any procedural issues raised during the investigation and to confirm whether the parties' rights to be heard has been respected.
The Procedural Adjudicator during the trial period to date has been Jackie Holland, Senior Director, Policy Group.
On 16 October, 2012, the OFT announced the further extension of the trial, until such time as the OFT's responsibility for competition law enforcement under the Competition Act 1998 is transferred to the Competition and Markets Authority.
The Procedural Adjudicator during the extended trial remains Jackie Holland, Senior Director, Policy Group
Find out more about the Procedural Adjudicator Trial.
Back to: Competition Act 1998