Competition Act 1980

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1980 c. 21


Competition Act 1980

1980 CHAPTER 21

An Act to abolish the Price Commission; to make provision for the control of anti-competitive practices in the supply and acquisition of goods and the supply and securing of services; to provide for references of certain public bodies and other persons to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission; to provide for the investigation of prices and charges by the Director General of Fair Trading; to provide for the making of grants to certain bodies; to amend and provide for the amendment of the Fair Trading Act 1973; to make amendments with respect to the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976; to repeal the remaining provisions of the Counter-Inflation Act 1973; and for purposes connected therewith.

[3rd April 1980]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Abolition of Price Commission

Abolition of Price Commission

S-1 Abolition of Price Commission.

1 Abolition of Price Commission.

(1) At the expiry of the winding-up period specified in subsection (2) below the Price Commission shall cease to exist and, during that period, the Commission shall exercise their functions solely in accordance with directions given to them by the Secretary of State with a view to bringing the activities of the Commission to an end at or before the expiry of that period.

(2) In this Act ‘the winding-up period’ means the period beginning on the appointed day and ending on the thirtieth day after the appointed day or on such later date as the Secretary of State may specify by order.

(3) The provisions of Schedule 1 to this Act shall have effect in connection with the dissolution of the Price Commission and, subject to the provisions of that Schedule—

(a ) any rights or obligations of the Price Commission which remain in existence immediately before the expiry of the winding-up period and any property held by the Commission at that time shall, on the expiry of that period, become rights, obligations and property of the Secretary of State; and

(b ) after the expiry of the winding-up period, anything which, apart from subsection (1) above, would be required or permitted to be done by or to the Price Commission shall or may be done by or to the Secretary of State.

Control of anti-competitive practices

Control of anti-competitive practices

S-2 Anti-competitive practices.

2 Anti-competitive practices.

(1) The provisions of sections 3 to 10 below have effect with a view to the control of anti-competitive practices, and for the purposes of this Act a person engages in an anti-competitive practice if, in the course of business, that person pursues a course of conduct which, of itself or when taken together with a course of conduct pursued by persons associated with him, has or is intended to have or is likely to have the effect of restricting, distorting or preventing competition in connection with the production, supply or acquisition of goods in the United Kingdom or any part of it or the supply or securing of services in the United Kingdom or any part of it.

(2) To the extent that a course of conduct is required or envisaged by a material provision of, or a material recommendation in, an agreement which is registered or subject to registration under the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976 , that course of conduct shall not be regarded as constituting an anti-competitive practice for the purposes of this Act; and for the purposes of this subsection—

(a ) a provision of an agreement is a material provision if, by virtue of the existence of the provision (taken alone or together with other provisions) the agreement is one to which that Act applies; and

(b ) a recommendation is a material recommendation in an agreement if it is one to which a term implied into the agreement by any provision of section 8 or section 16 of that Act (terms implied into trade association agreements and services supply association agreements) applies.

(3) For the purposes of this Act, a course of conduct does not constitute an anti-competitive practice if it is excluded for those purposes by an order made by the Secretary of State; and any such order may limit the exclusion conferred by it by reference to a particular class of persons or to particular circumstances.

(4) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (3) above, an order under that subsection may exclude the conduct of any person by reference to the size of his business, whether expressed by reference to turnover, as defined in the order, or to his share of a market, as so defined, or in any other manner.

(5) For the purpose only of enabling the Director General of Fair Trading (in this Act referred to as ‘the Director’) to establish whether any person's course of conduct is excluded by virtue of any such provision of an order under subsection (3) above as is referred to in subsection (4) above, the order may provide for the application, with appropriate modifications, of any provisions of sections 44 and 46 of the Fair Trading Act 1973 (power of Director to require information).

(6) For the purposes of this section any two persons are to be treated as associated—

(a ) if one is a body corporate of which the other directly or indirectly has control either alone or with other members of a group of interconnected bodies corporate of which he is a member, or

(b ) if both are bodies corporate of which one and the same person or group of persons directly or indirectly has control;

and for the purposes of this subsection a person or group of persons able directly or indirectly to control or materially to influence the policy of a body corporate, but without having a controlling interest in that body corporate, may be treated as having control of it.

(7) In this section ‘the supply or securing of services’ includes providing a place or securing that a place is provided other than on a highway, or in Scotland a public right of way, for the parking of a motor vehicle (within the meaning of the Road Traffic Act 1972 ).

(8) For the purposes of this Act any question whether, by pursuing any course of conduct in connection with the acquisition of goods or the securing of services by it, a local authority is engaging in an anti-competitive practice shall be determined as if the words ‘in the course of business’ were omitted from subsection (1) above; and in this subsection ‘local authority’ means—

(a ) in England and Wales, a local authority within the meaning of the Local Government Act 1972 , the Common Council of the City of London or the Council of the Isles of Scilly,

(b ) in Scotland, a local authority within the meaning of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 , and

(c ) in Northern Ireland, a district council established under the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972 .

S-3 Preliminary investigation by Director of possible anti-competitive practice.

3 Preliminary investigation by Director of possible anti-competitive practice.

(1) If it appears to the Director that any person has been or is pursuing a course of conduct which may amount to an anti-competitive practice, the Director may in accordance with this section carry out an investigation with a view to establishing whether that person has been or is pursuing a course of conduct which does amount to such a practice.

(2) Before carrying out an investigation under this section, the Director shall—

(a ) give to the Secretary of State and the person or persons whose conduct is to be investigated notice of the proposed investigation, together with an indication of the matters to be investigated, the person or persons concerned and the goods or services to which the investigation is to relate; and

(b ) arrange for notice of the proposed investigation, together with an indication of the matters to be investigated, the person or persons concerned and the goods or services to which the investigation is to relate, to be published in such manner as the Director considers most suitable for bringing the proposed investigation to the attention of any other persons who, in the opinion of the Director, would be affected by or be likely to have an interest in the investigation.

(3) The Secretary of State may by regulations prescribe the manner in which any notice is to be given under subsection (2) above, and the evidence which is to be sufficient evidence of its having been given, and of its contents and authenticity.

(4) Subject to the following provisions of this section, where notice of a proposed investigation has been given in accordance with paragraph (a ) and published in accordance with paragraph (b ) of subsection (2) above, the Director shall proceed with the investigation as expeditiously as possible.

(5) If, before the end of the period of two weeks beginning with the day on which the Secretary of State receives notice of a proposed investigation under paragraph (a ) of subsection (2) above, the Secretary of State directs the Director not to proceed with the investigation the Director shall take no further action under this section with respect to the matters referred to in the notice; but nothing in...

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