A new programme allowing the grant of immunity from criminal prosecution for parties blowing the whistle on cartels was launched on 22 January 2015. The revised Cartel Immunity Programme (CIP) was published by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC – formerly the Competition Authority) and operates with immediate effect.

The revised CIP sets out some important revisions and clarifications to the previous regime which had been in operation since 2001. A key change is that under the 2001 programme, applicants who had instigated the cartel or played the lead role in the illegal activity could not qualify for immunity. This is no longer the case.

The revised CIP also imposes certain new obligations, and clarifies some existing obligations, on immunity applicants.

The CCPC has made it clear that the investigation of cartels is one of its top priorities. The revised CIP will play a key role in enabling the CCPC/DPP to identify and prosecute such behaviour.