Enterprise Act 2002
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Enterprise Act 2002a UK Act that extended UK COMPETITION LAW to provide tougher powers to control cartels and anticompetitive behaviour and independence in merger references. Firstly, under the Act anticompetitive practices such as price-fixing and bid-rigging constitute a criminal offence, punishable by the imprisonment of guilty company officials, and the OFFICE OF FAIR TRADING (OFT) was given new powers to use surveillance techniques to flush out conspiracies. Secondly, the instigation of merger references is now solely the responsibility of the OFT. Previously, merger references were decided by the OFT acting in conjunction with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. This had led to complaints of ‘political’ interference rather than cases being referred purely on competition grounds.
In addition, the Act established the COMPETITION APPEALS TRIBUNAL, an independent body separate from the OFT and Competition Commission (CC) to hear appeals against decisions taken by these two regulators.