Brexit: trade associations and competition law


How to discuss your industry’s reaction to Brexit without falling foul of competition law

Given the economic, political and legal uncertainty following the “Leave”vote, businesses will understandably want to discuss with each other how Brexit will affect their industry and explore how they can help shape the future of the legal and regulatory landscape affecting it.

Such discussions will be valuable and necessary. However, communications between competitors attract suspicion from competition authorities, who will be concerned to ensure that those discussions do not breach competition law rules.

These guidelines, which apply to all formal and informal discussions, are intended to help businesses keep on the right side of competition law when entering into such discussions.

Legal framework

It is important to remember that agreements and other practices that prevent, restrict or distort competition are prohibited under both UK and EU competition law.

Although the UK’s legal and trading landscape may be changing, businesses must remain compliant with competition law. Breaches can have serious consequences for companies, trade associations and the individuals involved, including large corporate fines, disqualification as a director, imprisonment and personal fines, reputational damage and damages claims.

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