An assessment of the UK Discretionary Penalties Regime

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Sector: Competition Economics | Competition, Regulation and Business | Remedies and enforcement
Client: Office of Fair Trading
Published: October, 2009
Document type: Report 
Tagged: qualitative analysis UK

In this published report by the OFT, London Economics studies the efficacy of the UK discretionary penalty regime. The study benchmarks the OFT regime against other main jurisdictions and frames it within the theoretical debate on the determinants of an ‘optimal’ penalties regime. The report informs this question by analysing the academic literature and providing a comparison of the UK with international peers in both the tools used and the fine levels imposed. The report also emphasises that fines are not the sole way of achieving deterrence.

Other policies, such as leniency, personal sanctions and settlements, are important ingredients in any toolkit. In considering these, the report tells us that the overall penalty toolkit for the OFT is good, with recourse to fines and personal sanctions backed by a strong leniency policy.