In July, we outlined the new Government’s Competition and Consumer Law policy initiatives (click here). The Government has now moved forward with one of these initiatives, publishing for consultation a draft bill and related explanatory materials (click here), seeking very substantial increases to the maximum penalties for breaches of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010…

Legal professional privilege (LPP) has long been recognised as a powerful, though controversial protection. As the Australian High Court once declared, it is “a practical guarantee of fundamental constitutional or human rights”.[1] Yet, despite its well-established jurisprudential position, its utilisation to protect internal cartel investigation records of criminal cartel immunity applicants (IA) from being disclosed…

2021 proved to be a significant year for competition and consumer law in Australia. This article outlines a number of the key developments as follows: The trend for record penalties continues (as exemplified by the record $153 million penalty ordered against vocational skills training company AIPE). The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) remains an…

The Australian Government has released the Exposure Draft legislation and Explanatory Materials for an anticipated suite of reforms to unfair contract terms (UCT) laws found in the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (ASIC Act). Treasury is now considering feedback on the exposure draft with a view to the…

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chair, Rod Sims, has announced the ACCC’s 2021 compliance and enforcement policy and priorities. The focus of the ACCC’s 2021 priorities is reflective of its: continuation of its unfinished “to do” list in a COVID-19 interrupted 2020 enduring/ongoing priorities, such as the prosecution of cartel conduct (with two to…

The theme of antitrust in crisis is very timely for the current global climate, but more so than ever for Australia where we had already dealt with unprecedented drought, bushfires and now the global COVID-19 pandemic. Not for a century have Governments had to manage a health and economic crisis of such intensity, scale or…

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has commenced proceedings against cycling wholesaler B & K Holdings (QLD) Pty Ltd, trading as FE Sports (FE Sports), alleging that it engaged in resale price maintenance (RPM). The proceedings are a timely reminder of the risks suppliers face if they restrict resellers’ ability to advertise (in addition…

In brief: Industry collaborations that involve restrictions on supply of goods or services are likely to be per se illegal under Australian competition law. However, businesses can seek to self-assess legal risks under the joint venture exception to cartel conduct or seek to have proposed cartel conduct authorised (approved) by the Australian Competition and Consumer…

Much has been written of the heightened risk of gun-jumping enforcement by competition regulators overseeing mandatory suspensory merger regimes.  This article will examine why merger parties and their advisers must also be alive to ‘gun-jumping’ risks in jurisdictions where pre-merger notification is voluntary and there are no automatic standstill obligations. Alongside the succession of ‘gun-jumping’…

Resale price maintenance (RPM) occurs when a manufacture or distributor and a wholesaler prevents a retail or distributor from selling below a specified price Since the US Federal Courts decided Leegin in 2007[1] there has been vigorous debate about whether and in what circumstances RPM should and might be permissible.  A proposed new law in…