Following a consultation carried out last year by the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) on competition law compliance guidance for companies and directors, the OFT published on June 27, 2010 the final versions of its guidance material.

The two principal documents published by the OFT are worth reading in detail. The OFT expects to see active engagement by directors. It comments that a director with overall responsibility for a business area (but not immediate management responsibility over individuals responsible for an infringement) should make "reasonable enquiries" so as to seek to identify competition law breaches (presumably on a fairly regular basis). Non-executive directors similarly should make "reasonable enquiries" of the executive directors so as to satisfy themselves that the executive directors have, amongst other things, "taken appropriate steps to identify and assess the company's exposure to competition law risks".

Although these materials relate specifically to the UK, they represent best practice in the EU in the area of competition law compliance.