The Criminal Law of Competition in the UK and in the US

The Criminal Law of Competition in the UK and in the US

Failure and Success

Mark Furse

This invigorating work details the policy arguments behind the introduction of the law, and examines – through consideration of the successful prosecutions in the US – the extent to which the law in practice may be considered to have succeeded or failed in the UK. The role of the US as global antitrust policeman is also considered. The book concludes with a consideration of the difficulties facing the UK in choosing to pursue a criminal route within the current civil framework.

Chapter 5: Criminalisation in Ireland

Mark Furse

Subjects: law - academic, comparative law, competition and antitrust law, criminal law and justice


The UK is a member of a fairly exclusive club. Only a minority of the EU member states operate a system within which those engaging in cartelisation may face personal criminal sanctions, whether by way of fines or imprisonment. Ireland is the most distinctive of these regimes, and a discussion of its law forms the basis of this chapter. Austria and Germany have repealed their respective criminal laws, in part to secure stronger alignment with EU competition law in the post-modernisation world. However, the UK and Ireland are not completely alone. A full survey of criminal laws operating in the EU will not be attempted here, but it is worth making some reference to the law in Greece. Greece introduced a criminal law in March 1978, and the law is currently set out in Law 359/2011, which entered into force on April 20, 2011. Article 44 of the Law is, in part, in the following terms: Specific provision is made in Article 44(1) in relation to leniency applicants who have notified, ‘on their own initiative and before having been interrogated’, the practice to a competent authority. Such offenders ‘shall remain unpunished’. Elsewhere the legislation forms a link between leniency and the Criminal Code, requiring that certain factors, including ‘any substantial contribution’ by these persons to the provision of evidence ‘shall be deemed as mitigating factors under Article 84 of the Criminal Code’, and may thus attract a reduced penalty under Article 83 of the Criminal Code. There has, at the time of writing, been only one case determined in Greece on the basis of the criminal law.

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