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The OFT Finds That an Exchange of Information on Independent School Fees Violates National Competition Provisions but accepts a 'Structured Settlement'

January 2007


In late December 2006, the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) published a decision in which it found the exchange of commercially sensitive information between fee-paying independent schools in the UK to be unlawful under UK competition law. The investigation, one of the largest OFT investigations to date, concluded that 50 independent schools had infringed Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998 by providing each other information on future proposed fee levels and proposed fee increases. However, despite the evidence of this anticompetitive behaviour, the schools escaped heavy financial sanctions as the OFT chose instead to pursue a "structured settlement."

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