Restrictive Trade Practices Acts 1956, 1968, 1976
Restrictive Trade Practices Acts 1956, 1968, 1976a body of UK legislation that provided for the control of RESTRICTIVE TRADE AGREEMENTS between rival suppliers. The Acts made the operation of a restrictive trade agreement illegal unless it was specifically exempted by the OFFICE OF FAIR TRADING (OFT), usually after investigation by the RESTRICTIVE PRACTICES COURT. Under the Acts, parties to such an agreement had to satisfy the Court that not only did the restrictions contained in the agreement confer benefits in one or more specified ways (for example, by reducing costs and prices through greater specialization or by helping exports and reducing unemployment) but that, on balance, these benefits were greater than any detriments (for example, higher prices resulting from the elimination of price competition or the protection of inefficient producers).
These acts were superseded by the COMPETITION ACT 1998, which prohibited outright restrictive trade agreements. Infringements of this prohibition are now investigated by the COMPETITION COMMISSION, which has now replaced the Restrictive Practices Court. See COMPETITION POLICY (UK), INFORMATION AGREEMENT.