The OFT has published a discussion paper and announced informal consultation on facilitating private actions in order to optimise the effectiveness of competition law in the UK and make redress for consumers and business more accessible.

The discussion paper sets out a number of principles and proposals aimed at ensuring effective redress and greater compliance with competition law.

These include the following: 

  • consumers and businesses suffering losses as a result of breaches of competition law should be able to recover compensation, both as claims for damages on a standalone basis as well as in follow-on actions brought after public enforcement. To this end, representative actions should be more broadly available, and 
  • processes and systems should be available to encourage effective ways of resolving private actions, and to encourage settlement of cases without going to court or trial wherever possible.

Subject to the outcome of the consultation, the OFT envisages making recommendations to the Government to improve the effectiveness of redress for those who have been harmed by breaches of competition law. The OFT will also respond to the European Commission's forthcoming White Paper on damages actions for breach of the EC anti-trust rules.

The consultation period will last for eight weeks and end on 13 June 2007.