About the Centre

The University of Oxford Centre for Competition Law and Policy (CCLP) provides a centralised platform for teaching and research of competition law and policy at the University of Oxford. Activities and courses focus on regulation of competition in the UK, EU and US, international aspects of competition law and antitrust economics.

Courses supported by the CCLP include the graduate ‘BCL/MJUR Competition Law Seminar Series’ and the undergraduate ‘FHS EC Competition Law Course’. Additionally, the CCLP is home to the ‘Guest Lecture Programme’ where leading practitioners and academics discuss recent issues of competition law and policy. The CCLP also provides a venue for scholars and practitioners to exchange views on competition law and policy through its Discussion Forums and its Online Papers and Materials Database.


Forthcoming events

Friday 24 October 2014
Competition Law & Economics 
Mark Williams
(ECLM Economics Limited)
at 15h00, Pembroke College Pichette Auditorium
Friday 6 February 2015
Article 9 Commitment Decisions 
Florian Wagner-von Papp
(UCL)
at 13h00, Centre for Competition Law & Policy 
Friday 20 February 2015
Vertical Agreements Case Study 
Kyriakos Fountoukakos and Molly Herron,
(Herbert Smith Freehills LLP)
at 13h00, Centre for Competition Law & Policy 
Friday 6 March 2015
European Cartel Criminalisation 
Peter Whelan
(Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, School of Law, University of Leeds)
at 13h00, Centre for Competition Law & Policy 

Noticeboard

Journal of Antitrust Enforcement Agency Effectiveness Study

The Oxford Centre for Competition Law and Policy, in collaboration with the Journal of Antitrust Enforcement, launched an empirical study on the effectiveness of competition agencies. The Study explores competition agencies’ wide range of daily concerns and strategies, and the formal and informal ways in which they are handled. In particular, it aims to provide a candid account of the challenges that heads of agencies and their staff face as they navigate through changing legal, social, political and organisational landscapes

Friday 6 June 2014


Publications

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2013

A Ezrachi and J Thanassoulis, 'Upstream Horizontal Mergers and (the Absence of) Retail Price Effects' (2013) Journal of Competition Law and Economics (forthcoming) [...]

The paper explores the retail price effects of upstream and mid stream horizontal mergers. It questions the prevailing assumption in merger review according to which such transactions will have similar effects on retail price as that of downstream horizontal mergers. The analysis illustrates how a sophisticated profit-maximizing merged entity may find it more profitable to enter into efficient contracts which seek to maximise the profit of the distribution channel, and so ensure that retail prices are not raised. The merged entity uses its market power and improved bargaining position to extract as much of that profit as possible from the retailer. We therefore argue that one cannot simply assume a direct link between the creation of market power upstream following a merger transaction, and the subsequent increase in retail prices. An analysis of the effects of upstream mergers on retail prices should call for a more nuanced appraisal which distinguishes the transfer of wealth within the operators in the distribution chain from the possible price impacts on final consumers.


ISBN: 1744-6414

2012

K S Ziegler, 'Englisches Wettbewerbsrecht‘ [English Competition Law]' in V Triebel, M Illmer, G Ringe, S Vogenauer and KS Ziegler (eds), Englisches Handels- und Wirtschaftsrecht [English Commercial and Economic Law] (Munich, Beck Verlag 2012)

A Ezrachi and H Qaqaya, 'UNCTAD’s Collaborative Information Platform' (2012) 4-2012 Concurrences Journal [...]

The application of competition law in an international setting has long been a challenging area for competition agencies. Legal and practical obstacles often limit an agency’s ability to obtain information on multinational violations and engage in effective enforcement and prosecution. These limitations have been particularly noticeable in the case of developing countries and economies in transition. These regimes are characterised by limited enforcement capacity and tend to focus their attention on domestic violators and on efforts to foster a ‘competition culture’. The challenge of tackling sophisticated cross-border anticompetitive activity and the imposition of effective sanctions on international violators may be beyond their reach. Unfortunately, the limited enforcement capacity of these regimes often results in an increased and disproportionate exposure to multinational anticompetitive activity. This exposure is particularly harmful given the ever growing level of cross-border trade. Indeed, in many instances, unless the cross-border activity is challenged by other, more powerful jurisdictions, developing economies and economies in transition remain exposed to negative transfer of wealth. This reality serves as a powerful incentive for these regimes to enhance their enforcement capacity in order to effectively tackle cross-border infringements. To facilitate these efforts, UNCTAD has recently launched a new initiative that will foster transparent information flow and collaboration between competition agencies. This initiative – known as the Collaborative Information Platform - forms part of UNCTAD’s on-going work on international cooperation and enforcement.


2011

C Hodges, 'A Market-Based Competition Enforcement Policy' (2011) 22 European Business Law Review 261

A Ezrachi and C Beaton-Wells (Editors), Criminalising Cartels: A critical interdisciplinary study of an international regulatory movement (Hart 2011) [...]

This book is inspired by the international movement towards the criminalisation of cartel conduct over the last decade. Led by US enforcers, criminalisation has been supported by a growing number of regulators and governments. It derives its support from the simple yet forceful proposition that criminal sanctions, particularly jail time, are the most effective deterrent to such activity. However, criminalisation is much more complex than that basic proposition suggests. There is complexity both in terms of the various forces that are driving and shaping the movement (economic, political and social) and in the effects on the various actors involved in it (government, enforcement agencies, the business community, judiciary, legal profession and general public). Featuring contributions from authors who have been at the forefront of the debate around the world, this substantial 19-chapter volume captures the richness of the criminalisation phenomenon and considers its implications for building an effective criminal cartel regime, particularly outside of the US. It adopts a range of approaches, including general theoretical perspectives (from criminal theory, economics, political science, regulation and criminology) and case-studies of the experience with the design and enforcement of existing or contemplated criminal cartel regimes in various jurisdictions (including in Australia, Canada, EU, Germany, Ireland and the UK). The book also explores the international dimensions of criminalisation - its specific practical consequences (such as increased potential for extradition) as well as its more general implications for trends of harmonisation or convergence in competition law and enforcement.


C Hodges, 'European Competition Enforcement Policy: Integrating Restitution and Behaviour Control' (2011) 34(3) World Competition 383

A Ezrachi and S Anderman (Editors), Intellectual Property and Competition Law: New Frontiers (OUP 2011)

2010

A Ezrachi, 'Cartels and Criminalisation - The International Dimension' in C Beaton-Wells and A Ezrachi (eds), Criminalising Cartels: A Critical Interdisciplinary Study of an International Regulatory Movement (Hart 2010)

A Ezrachi, 'Clearstream' (2010) Journal of European Competition Law and Practice   [Case Note]

A Ezrachi, EU Competition Law, An Analytical Guide to the Leading Cases (2nd ed) ( 2010) [...]

This book is designed as a working tool for the study and practice of European Competition Law. It is an enlarged and updated second edition of the highly practical guide to the leading cases of European Competition Law, first published in 2008. This second edition focuses primarily on Article 101 TFEU (Ex Article 81 EC), Article 102 TFEU (Ex Article 82 EC) and the European Merger Regulation. In addition it explores the public and private enforcement of Competition Law, the intersection between Intellectual Property Rights and Competition Law and the application of Competition Law to State action. Each chapter begins with an introduction which outlines the relevant laws, regulations and guidelines for each of the topics, providing the analytical framework for the case entries that follow. The case entries are then set out is summary form, accompanied by analysis and commentary.


ISBN: 1849460477/97818494

A Ezrachi and Gilo, 'Excessive Pricing, Entry, Assessment and Investment – Lessons from the Mittal Litigation' (2010) 76:3 Antitrust Law Journal [...]

The role of antitrust in curtailing excessive prices has long been a contentious area. Consequently, the charging of excessive prices has been subjected to diverse levels of enforcement across the world.1 U.S. antitrust law, for example, does not encompass the charging of high prices as such,2 and was held not to “condemn the resultant of those very forces which it is its prime object to foster: finis opus coronat.”3 By contrast, competition laws in other jurisdictions provide for the condemnation of excessive or unfair pricing. Such is the case under EU competition law,4 the competition provisions in the European Member States,5 and in other jurisdictions across the world.6 But even among those competition regimes which do intervene against the charging of excessive prices as such, one may identify different levels of enthusiasm for doing so. In Europe, for example, recent years have witnessed a restrained approach by the European Commission7 but a more proactive approach by some of the competition authorities of the Member States.8 Varying levels of intervention reflect a controversy as to the merit of prohibiting excessive pricing. Three main grounds are often used to justify non-, or limited-, intervention: (1) intervention is not necessary, as high prices would be competed away by new entry, attracted by the ex-cessive price; (2) there are practical difficulties in speculating what a price would have been had there been competition and in determining the excessiveness of the prices actually charged; and (3) enforcement which targets excessive prices may chill innovation and investment.9 To illustrate the difficulties of assessment and to question some of the justifications that are used to rationalize non-intervention, this article reviews the recent litigation in South Africa related to alleged excessive pricing by Mittal Steel.10 We use the decisions of the South African Competition Tribunal and the South African Competition Appeal Court as a case study to highlight both the complexity of, and possible merit in, antitrust intervention against excessive pricing. Our analysis focuses on the three grounds for non-intervention. First, with respect to the self-correcting nature of excessive prices, we illustrate how excessive prices, in and of themselves, do not attract new entry, when potential entrants are either informed or uninformed about their post-entry profits. Referring to our previous work on this subject,11 we question the South African Competition Tribunal’s holding in the Mittal case with respect to the prerequisite conditions for intervention against excessive pricing. Second, we consider how the difficulties of assessing what is an excessive price affected the outcome in the Mittal litigation. Without underestimating these difficulties, we consider how they may be alleviated in certain cases through reasonable methods for inferring what may constitute an excessive price. Third, while acknowledging the possible validity of concerns about chilling ex ante investment, we outline instances in which these concerns should not serve to support nonintervention. It should be stressed that this article does not advocate across-theboard intervention. It does, however, question the validity of a categorical “hands-off” approach, which deems excessive prices to be outside the realm of competition law. We consider separately the weight that should be assigned to each ground for non-intervention. Subsequently, we argue in favor of a case-by-case approach which explores the factual matrix of each case and considers the benefits, costs, and net effects of intervention.


ISBN: 0003-6056

A Ezrachi, 'Form and Effects Based Approaches - A Challenging Duality in the Application of Article 102 TFEU ' (2010) 2 Concurrences Review [...]

In recent years the debate on the soul of Article 102 TFEU and the effects based approach have dominated the competition law landscape. While many would agree on the clear merit of introducing more carefully balanced analysis when establishing abuse, the practicalities of such an approach have been difficult to agree upon. The recent Guidance Paper on Enforcement Priorities in the Application of Article 102 TFEU, which stemmed from the public consultation, has further sparked the public debate in this area. Concerns were raised as to the scope of the effects based variants in the Guidance Paper and the innovation it heralds - for example in the treatment of fidelity rebates and the use of the new proposed efficiency defence. Beyond the substantive and conceptual complexities that an effects based approach carries, its practical application has given rise to an interesting and somewhat disconcerting duality. On one hand, the European Court has not yet warmed to the effects based approach. In its judgements, the Court, has by large, continued to hold that it is not necessary to demonstrate that the abuse in question had a concrete effect on the markets concerned. It has generally ignored the lively debate on the effects based approach and even at times, the opinion of its own Advocate General . On the other hand, the Commission has pushed toward an effects based analysis, not only in its Guidance Paper but also in its decision making. In the Prokent/Tomra decision the Commission noted that it has completed its analysis by considering the actual effects of the dominant company’s practices and did not satisfy itself with the lower formalistic threshold established by the Court. Similarly, in Intel Corporation , the Commission took the decision in line with the orientations set out in its Guidance Paper and considered the effects of the fidelity rebates. The Commission noted, however, that even with the absence of harmful effect, Intel’s behaviour may be condemned under the formalistic analysis of abuse as applied by the Court, thus using a dual benchmark in its decision making. This Form based approach at the European Court and the Effects based approach as applied by the Commission, trigger apparent legal and business uncertainty.


A Ezrachi, 'Unchallenged Market Power? The Tale of Supermarkets, Private labels and Competition Law ' (2010) World Competition [...]

Recent decades have witnessed a distinct increase in the sales and popularity of private labels. The growing market share of private labels has transformed the landscape of retail competition in developed countries. Major retailers are no longer confined to their traditional roles of purchasers and distributors of branded goods. By selling their own label products within their outlet they compete with their upstream brand suppliers on sales and shelf space. This ‘vertical competition’ is not confined solely to ‘value’ categories of products. These days, retailers offer private label goods catering for the value, specialized and premium markets. These developments, and the increasing confidence that consumers have in private labels, have increased the bargaining position and market power of retailers as their labels compete directly with the leading manufacturers’ brand and its ‘value’ alternatives. This unique relationship and the increased role played by private labels raises fundamental questions as to their pro-, and possible anti-, competitive effects. It further highlights the shifting power balance between the producer and distributor and between the private label and branded good. This paper focuses on the effects of private labels, sold in major supermarkets, on retail competition and consumer welfare. In particular, it considers how supermarkets affect competition due to the fact that they retain control over shelving, in-store promotion and the pricing of branded and own label goods in addition to having superior access to consumer data. Furthermore, it reviews the enforcement of competition law in a private label environment and the difficulty in balancing the beneficial short-term effects of private labels and their possible, harmful, long-term effects. It subsequently questions whether these difficulties imply a lack of competitive harm or reflect a gap in regulation, as traditional analysis fails to encompass the increased market power of retailers and the existence of vertical competition.


ISBN: 1011-4548

2009

A Ezrachi and David Gilo, 'Are Excessive Prices Really Self-Correcting?' (2009) Journal of Competition Law & Economics

A Ezrachi, Article 82 EC – Reflections on its recent evolution (Ed, 2009)

A Ezrachi and David Gilo, 'The Darker Side of the Moon – The assessment of excessive pricing and proposal for a post-entry price-cut benchmark' in Ariel Ezrachi (ed), Article 82 EC – Reflections on its recent evolution ( 2009)

A Ezrachi, 'The Enforceability of Article 82 EC in National Courts' in Ariel Ezrachi (ed), Article 82 EC – Reflections on its recent evolution ( 2009)

2008

A Ezrachi and Jonathan Reynolds, 'Advertising, Brand Competition and Private Labels' in A Ezrachi & U Bernitz (eds), Own Labels, Branded goods and Competition Policy, The changing landscape of retail competition (OUP 2008)

A Ezrachi, EC Competition Law, An Analytical Guide to the Leading Cases (Hart Publishing 2008)

A Ezrachi, 'From Courage v. Crehan to the White Paper –The changing landscape of European private enforcement and the possible implications for Article 82 litigation' in Mackenrodt, Conde Gallego, Enchelmaier (eds), Art. 82 EC: New Interpretation, New Enforcement Mechanisms? (Springer 2008)

K S Ziegler, 'Großbritannien' in Jörg Philipp Terhechte (ed), Internationales Kartell- und Fusionskontrollverfahrensrecht. International Cartel and Merger Enforcement Law (Bielefeld, Gieseking Verlag 2008)

A Ezrachi, 'Merger Notification Thresholds – Reflections on the degree of exposure to competition law regimes world wide' (2008) 60 ICFAI Reader

A Ezrachi and Ulf Bernitz (Editors), Own Labels, Branded goods and Competition Policy, The changing landscape of retail competition (OUP 2008)

A Johnston, 'Review of: Elizabeth O’Neill and Emma Sanders (with Margaret Bloom and Anneli Howard), UK Competition Procedure: The Modernised Regime' (2008) Cambridge Law Journal 434   [Review]

A Ezrachi, 'The Interplay between the Economic Approach to Article 82 EC and Private Enforcement' (2008) (3) Global Competition Litigation Review

A Ezrachi, 'The Tale of Own Labels and Competition Law' in A Ezrachi & U Bernitz (eds), wn Labels, Branded goods and Competition Policy, The changing landscape of retail competition (OUP 2008)

2007

A Ezrachi, 'Competition Law and the Regulation of Cross Border Mergers and Acquisitions - A Story of Conflict, Cooperation and Convergence' (2007) (2007) 4 (2) ICFAI Journal of Mergers and Acquisitions 57-73

A Ezrachi, 'European Cartel Enforcement and the Possible Implications for Japanese Companies' (2007) Kanto-gakuin Law Review

A Ezrachi, 'Merger Control and Cross Border Transactions – A Pragmatic View on Cooperation, Convergence and What\\\'s in Between' in Philip Marsden (ed), Handbook of Research in Trans-Atlantic Antitrust (Edward Elgar Publishing 2007)

2006

S R Weatherill, 'Anti-doping revisited - the demise of the rule of 'purely sporting interest'?' (2006) 27 European Competition Law Review 645

A Ezrachi, 'Behavioural Remedies in EC Merger Control – Scope and Limitations' (2006) 29(3) World Competition 459

A Ezrachi and D Gilo, 'EC Competition Law and the Regulation of Passive Investments Among Competitors' (2006) 26(2) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 327

A Johnston and P.J. Slot, Introduction to Competition Law (Hart Publishing 2006) [...]

Competition law is a subject of central importance. An accessible introduction to this legal field is thus indispensable for students and practitioners alike. This book is intended to serve as a first acquaintance with competition law and is written in particular for students who intend to study a foundation course in competition law. The current competition law in the UK consists of two main levels: EC competition law and UK competition law. In this introduction both levels are covered, along with an abbreviated introduction to the EC rules on state aids. An important function of this book is to provide an insight into the combined system of UK and EC competition law. Therefore, for the three main subjects (the prohibition of cartels, the prohibition of the abuse of a position of dominance and the supervision of concentrations (mergers and acquisitions) extensive examples, drawn from European and UK practice, have been provided. These examples are then used in the explanation of the general principles, taking into account the changes as a result of the recent introduction of Regulation 1/2003. With this approach, the book aims to reach a broad range of readers: students, teachers in further and higher education, officials and practising lawyers who are not usually faced with competition law issues in their everyday working lives. Extra information has also been included in the footnotes, indicating references to the more specialised literature.


ISBN: 9781841134451

P Nebbia, 'Standard form contract between unfair terms control and competition law' (2006) 31 European Law Review 102

2005

S R Weatherill, 'Anti-doping rules and EC law' (2005) 26 European Competition Law Review 416

A Ezrachi, 'Under (and Over) Prescribing of Behavioural Remedies' (2005) The University of Oxford Centre for Competition Law and Policy

2004

A Ezrachi, 'The Role of Voluntary Frameworks in Multinational Cooperation' (2004) 36 George Washington International Law Review 433

2002

A Ezrachi, 'Globalization of Merger Control – A Look at Bilateral Cooperation Through the GE/Honeywell Case' (2002) 14 Florida Journal of International Law 397

S R Weatherill, 'The Commission's Options for Developing EC Consumer Protection and Contract Law: Assessing the Constitutional Basis' (2002) 13 European Business Law Review 497

A Ezrachi, 'The Long Arm of European Competition Enforcement' (2002) 143 Michkari Mishpat Law Review

2001

A Ezrachi, 'Limitations on the Extraterritorial Reach of the European Merger Regulation' (2001) 4 European Competition Law Rev.137

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