Competition commission loses three cases in two months - is this good or bad?

Cases of price fixing or market division brought by the commission against cement companies, furniture removal truck companies and travel and tour companies, were all dismissed.

Are firms increasingly opposing cases brought against them by the commission?

Bruce Whitfield wants to know if the criminalisation of cartel conduct in 2016 is a partial explanation for this trend.

Companies can no longer say mea culpa I've been fixing prices, here's some cash for a fine.

People can be held liable.

Reputational damage and the risk of civil damages claims must be taken into account before a firm decides to apply for leniency or settle with the commission.

These are three cartel cases - cartels are the fundmental sin of price settling. The fact that the commission is prosecuting cartels is a good thing for consumers. but what I think these cases are showing is companies are increasingly opposing cases and not settling with the commission. I think partly the fact of the criminalisation of cartel conduct. Criminal and reputational issues flow from that.

Pieter Steyn, Werksmans Attorneys

Firms are more cautious about settling, particularly since the granting of leniency by the commission does not automatically grant immunity from prosecution by the National Prosecuting Authority.

Pieter Steyn, Werksmans Attorneys

Companies that stood up against the commission and been successful is useful. It develops precedent which can help companies like myself to help firms in future

Pieter Steyn, Werksmans Attorneys
File picture: Competition Commission officials, presented findings on the Market Services Data Inquiry, December 2019. Picture: @CompComSA/Twitter

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