The most important questions of compliance with competition law were raised in this year’s competition law roundtable discussion, entitled “Antitrust Marathon”, which was held on 13 October 2017 and organised by Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Péter Pázmány Catholic University and the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH).
“The GVH is committed to promoting compliance with competition rules as the promotion of competition culture is a key element in prevention”, – highlighted Juhász Miklós, President of the GVH in his opening speech at the Antitrust Marathon event, which was held for the sixth time. Since 2012 the GVH has launched several communication campaigns aimed at encouraging (first of all) small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to comply with competition law.
The full-day roundtable and panel discussions were led by Philip Marsden, Inquiry Chair of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), United Kingdom, Tihamér Tóth, Associate Professor of Pázmány Péter Catholic University and Spencer Waller, Director of the Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, United States. Leaders from competition authorities, advisers, lawyers and academics participated at the event and discussed the ways in which a culture of compliance concerning competition matters can be created.
According to the speech given by András Tóth, Vice-President of the GVH, a competition authority needs to encourage and recognise companies’ competition compliance efforts for a number of reasons: firstly this may result in an unlawful conduct being brought to an end at an early stage, secondly it may accelerate the competition between the potential leniency applicants and, finally, it may encourage more leniency applications. In his speech he also highlighted how compliance programmes may be recognised: in his opinion, on the one hand compliance programmes cannot automatically be recognised as this would act as a form of ”cheap insurance” for undertakings, while on the other hand it is worth taking a look at the efficiency of such programmes, bearing in mind the special situation of SMEs, which have limited possibilities to develop compliance programmes.
Philip Marsden, Director of the CMA, told everyone in his closing thoughts that the GVH had hosted a multilateral exchange of views “about what we can all do make sure company staff don’t take the easy route and violate competition law, thus harming consumers, their own companies and industries. Incentives matter – whether financial, regulatory or moral – but working together companies, their advisors and competition authorities can increase awareness and prevent illegal practices, ensuring markets are able to work for the benefit of all.”
The contributions and related studies heard at the Antitrust Marathon will be published in the following number of the Loyola Consumer Law Review.
Budapest, 16 October 2017
Hungarian Competition Authority