Private competition (antitrust) litigation continues to develop rapidly in the UK. Cases can either be standalone (not relying on a regulatory decision to prove an infringement of competition law) or follow-on (relying on a regulatory decision). The full range of remedies is available, including injunctions to stop anticompetitive behaviour and damages for demonstrated loss.
The EU Antitrust Damages Directive, which should have been implemented in all EU member states by 27 December 2016, is designed to remove practical obstacles to compensation for all victims of infringements of EU antitrust law. The directive applies to all damages actions, whether individual or collective, which are available in the member states. In some states, the rules applying to date have been very restrictive (for example, in relation to discovery/disclosure of documents from the other parties), and therefore the directive is likely to have a dramatic effect.
Current UK rules heavily influenced the directive, so the changes in the UK will be less dramatic. Nevertheless, some modifications are required, and on 9 March 2017, the principal implementing rules for the directive were brought into force in the UK by statutory instrument. This is a significant moment in the development of private competition litigation in the UK, in particular since the substantive changes brought into force (such as a presumption of harm to customers arising out of cartel infringements) apply only to cases where the loss was suffered on or after 9 March as a result of an infringement of competition law that took place on or after that day.