The amalgamation of the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission into a new body, the Competition and Markets Authority, has not attracted much attention. In practical terms, most of the resulting changes seem to be minor. However, one change that is potentially of great significance relates to a proposed alteration to the law on what constitutes a cartel offence.
Currently, a price-fixing offence is only a cartel offence if there is dishonesty involved. The proposed new definition will include any such arrangement unless ‘made openly’. This definition may bring a far greater number of arrangements under the microscope. The change is scheduled to take place in April 2014.