George Peretz KC – UK Constitutional Law Association – Clause 19 of the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill: Power without accountability

16 Nov 2023

Clause 19 of the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill (“the DMCC Bill”) gives the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) wide powers to impose conduct requirements on undertakings that the CMA has designated as having strategic market status (“SMS”) in respect of a digital activity (essentially, “big tech”).  The condition for the exercise of the power is that the CMA considers it “appropriate” to do so having regard to broadly drawn statutory objectives – the “fair dealing” objective, the “open choices” objective (essentially, enabling consumers to choose freely and easily between providers) and the “trust and transparency” objective (essentially, having the information to make properly informed decisions).  The types of conduct requirement that may be imposed are set out in clause 20: essentially, there is no statutory limit to the types of requirement that may be imposed save that (whatever they are) they must be for the purpose of securing various objectives or of preventing various widely defined types of conduct (for example “using data unfairly”).  Breach of a conduct requirement may result, if the CMA so decides, in an enforcement order that requires action to remedy the breach or payment of damages.

To read full article, written by George Peretz KC, please click here.