Media Briefing Note: Application of the UK Competition Act 1998 to land agreements

From 6 April 2011 the provisions of Chapter I of the UK Competition Act 1998 will for the first time apply to land agreements. Angus Coulter, Of Counsel in Hogan Lovells' Antitrust, Competition and Economic Regulation practice, comments:

"From tomorrow (6 April 2011), the provisions of Chapter I of the UK Competition Act 1998 will for the first time apply to land agreements - leases and other agreements creating or transferring of an interest in land.  Where such agreements contain restrictions with an impact on competition in the UK, these restrictions may be illegal. 
The Office of Fair Trading has (on 25 March 2011) published a Guideline setting out how the competition rules may apply to such restrictions.  It also provides some comfort in indicating the OFT's enforcement priorities in this area.  The OFT has said that it considers that only a minority of such restrictions will breach the Chapter I prohibition. 
In reality, no one is quite sure what the impact will be.  The OFT Guideline provides some helpful guidance but is non-binding.  It also contains some conclusions which suggest that owners, users and developers of land may need to revisit their future and possibly existing agreements.  Companies getting it wrong may find it impossible to enforce key clauses in their agreements and, at worst, may face future OFT investigations and possible fines." 


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