On 08 March 2013 it was published in the Government Gazette (GG 36221, Vol 573) that section 6 of the Competition Amendment Act 2009 (Amendment Act) will come into effect on 01 April 2013.
Section 6 allows the Competition Commission to initiate a market enquiry if it has reason to believe that any feature or combination of features of a market for any goods or services prevents, distorts or restricts competition within that market; or if it is necessary to achieve the purposes of the Competition Act.
The Competition Commission is essentially given increased investigative powers for purposes of market enquiries, such as the ability to subpoena information and witnesses. The coming into operation of section 6 of the Amendment Act follows hot on the heels of a statement made by the Competition Commission in February 2013 that they were anxious to begin their investigation into the health care market, a market which Adams & Adams provides specialist regulatory, intellectual property and competition law advice.
Noticeably however it is only section 6 that comes into force and not the section that includes criminal liability.