On 29th June, the Office of Fair Trading set out its new guidance on Director Disqualification orders for breach of the competition rules.
All businesses should have some working knowledge of competition law. Do not fix prices with competitors. Do not tell dealers the price they must resell goods at. Do not rig bids. The rules also affect the length of restrictions in contracts such as sales of a business and affect the export and import of goods. The final revised guidance provides clarification on a number of details of the policy including that:
- The OFT will be just as concerned with Directors, who ought to have known of competition law breaches at a company, as those who were personally involved in an infringement. Cases will be chosen based on the evidence available and seriousness of the conduct.
- The OFT will continue to offer immunity from disqualification orders for any Director who cooperates with the OFT’s investigation and whose company benefited from leniency in respect of the same activities.
- There may be exceptional cases where the OFT believes it is appropriate to apply for a disqualification order where there is no prior decision or judgment on the infringement. However, as with all cases, the OFT would still have to satisfy the Court that there had been an infringement of competition law.