The Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) has given judgment on the first contested criminal proceedings under the ‘cartel’ offence in section 188 of the Enterprise Act 2002. The defendant, with others, were senior executives in a major company charged with dishonestly agreeing to effect a price fixing arrangement between their company and a competitor.
The issues in the appeal were whether the cartel offence amounted to a “national competition law” within the meaning of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 (“the Modernisation Regulation”), and, if so, whether the Modernisation Regulation prevents the Crown Court from trying an indictment alleging the cartel offence, or imposing a punishment if it is proved to have been committed, when the Crown Court has not been designated as a National Competition Authority under the Regulation. The Court of Appeal answered both questions in the negative, and dismissed the appeal by the defendant.
Jon Turner QC and Anneli Howard represented the OFT, together with Richard Latham QC, Mark Lucraft QC and Thomas Payne.