Competition Act, 1991

JurisdictionIreland


Number 24 of 1991


COMPETITION ACT, 1991


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

PART I

Preliminary

Section

1.

Short title.

2.

Commencement.

3.

Interpretation.

PART II

Rules of Competition

4.

Anti-competitive agreements, decisions and concerted practices.

5.

Abuse of dominant position.

6.

Right of action.

7.

Notification of agreements, decisions and concerted practices to Authority.

8.

Licence of Authority under section 4 (2) and certificate of Authority under section 4 (4).

9.

Appeal to High Court.

PART III

The Competition Authority

10.

Establishment of Competition Authority.

11.

Studies and analyses by Authority.

12.

Reports.

PART IV

Mergers, Take-overs and Monopolies

13.

Construction with Act of 1978.

14.

Investigation of abuse of dominant position.

15.

Definitions in Act of 1978.

16.

Notification of proposed merger or take-over.

17.

Amendment of sections 6, 7 and 8 of the Act of 1978.

18.

Amendment of section 9 of the Act of 1978.

19.

Control of concentrations.

PART V

General

20.

Authorised officers.

21.

Powers of authorised officers.

22.

Repeals.

23.

Regulations.

24.

Expenses.

SCHEDULE

Competition Authority

Acts Referred to

Civil Service Commissioners Act, 1956

1956, No. 45

European Assembly Elections Act, 1977

1977, No. 30

European Assembly Elections Act, 1984

1984, No. 6

Mergers, Take-overs and Monopolies (Control) Act, 1978

1978, No. 17

Restrictive Practices Act, 1972

1972, No. 11

Restrictive Practices (Amendment) Act, 1987

1987, No. 31


Number 24 of 1991


COMPETITION ACT, 1991


AN ACT TO PROHIBIT, BY ANALOGY WITH ARTICLES 85 AND 86 OF THE TREATY ESTABLISHING THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY, AND IN THE INTERESTS OF THE COMMON GOOD, THE PREVENTION, RESTRICTION OR DISTORTION OF COMPETITION AND THE ABUSE OF DOMINANT POSITIONS IN TRADE IN THE STATE, TO ESTABLISH A COMPETITION AUTHORITY, TO AMEND THE MERGERS, TAKE-OVERS AND MONOPOLIES (CONTROL) ACT, 1978 , AND TO PROVIDE FOR OTHER MATTERS CONNECTED WITH THE MATTERS AFORESAID. [22nd July, 1991]

BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS:

PART I

Preliminary

Short title.

1.—This Act may be cited as the Competition Act, 1991.

Commencement.

2.—(1) This Act shall come into operation on such day or days as may be fixed therefor by order or orders of the Minister, either generally or with reference to a particular purpose or provision, and different days may be so fixed for different purposes and different provisions of this Act.

(2) An order under subsection (1) may as respects the repeal effected by section 22 of the provisions of the Act of 1972 fix different days for the repeal of different provisions of that Act or for the repeal for different purposes of any provision of that Act.

Interpretation.

3.—(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

“the Act of 1972” means the Restrictive Practices Act, 1972 ;

“the Act of 1978” means the Mergers, Take-overs and Monopolies (Control) Act, 1978 ;

“the Act of 1987” means the Restrictive Practices (Amendment) Act, 1987 ;

“authorised officer” means a person appointed under section 20 ;

“the Authority” means the Competition Authority established by section 10 ;

“the Court” means the High Court or, in the case of an appeal, the Supreme Court;

“the Minister” means the Minister for Industry and Commerce;

“prescribed” means prescribed by regulations made by the Minister;

“undertaking” means a person being an individual, a body corporate or an unincorporated body of persons engaged for gain in the production, supply or distribution of goods or the provision of a service.

(2) In this Act a reference to a section or Schedule is to a section of, or Schedule to, this Act unless it is indicated that a reference to some other provision is intended.

(3) In this Act a reference to a subsection or paragraph is to the subsection or paragraph of the provision in which the reference occurs, unless it is indicated that reference to another provision is intended.

(4) In this Act a reference to any other enactment is to that enactment as amended by any other enactment including this Act.

PART II

Rules of Competition

Anti-competitive agreements, decisions and concerted practices.

4.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, all agreements between undertakings, decisions by associations of undertakings and concerted practices which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition in trade in any goods or services in the State or in any part of the State are prohibited and void, including in particular, without prejudice to the generality of this subsection, those which—

(a) directly or indirectly fix purchase or selling prices or any other trading conditions;

(b) limit or control production, markets, technical development or investment;

(c) share markets or sources of supply;

(d) apply dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage;

(e) make the conclusion of contracts subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which by their nature or according to commercial usage have no connection with the subject of such contracts.

(2) The Competition Authority established by this Act (“the Authority”) may in accordance with section 8 grant a licence for the purposes of this section in the case of—

(a) any agreement or category of agreements,

(b) any decision or category of decisions,

(c) any concerted practice or category of concerted practices,

which in the opinion of the Authority, having regard to all relevant market conditions, contributes to improving the production or distribution of goods or provision of services or to promoting technical or economic progress, while allowing consumers a fair share of the resulting benefit and which does not—

(i) impose on the undertakings concerned terms which are not indispensable to the attainment of those objectives;

(ii) afford undertakings the possibility of eliminating competition in respect of a substantial part of the products or services in question.

(3) (a) A licence under subsection (2) shall, while it is in force, and in accordance with its terms, permit the doing of acts which would otherwise be prohibited and void under subsection (1).

(b) Where a licence under subsection (2) covers a category of agreements, decisions or concerted practices, any agreements, decisions or concerted practices (as the case may be) within that category which comply with the terms of the licence need not be notified under section 7 to benefit from the licence while it is in force.

(4) The Authority may certify that in its opinion, on the basis of the facts in its possession, an agreement, decision or concerted practice notified under section 7 does not offend against subsection (1).

(5) Before granting a licence or issuing a certificate under this section, the Authority may invite any Minister of the Government concerned with the matter to offer such observations as he may wish to make.

(6) On granting a licence or issuing a certificate under this section, the Authority shall forthwith give notice in the prescribed manner to every body to which it relates stating the terms and the date thereof and the reasons therefor and cause the notice to be published in Iris Oifigiúil and cause notice of the grant of the licence or issue of the certificate, as the case may be, to be published in one daily newspaper published in the State.

(7) The prohibition in subsection (1) shall not prevent the Court, in exercising any jurisdiction conferred on it by this Act concerning an agreement, decision or concerted practice which contravenes that prohibition and which creates or, but for this Act, would have created legal relations between the parties thereto, from applying, where appropriate, any relevant rules of law as to the severance of those terms of that agreement, decision or concerted practice which contravene that prohibition from those which do not.

(8) In respect of an agreement, decision or concerted practice such as is referred to in subsection (7) a court of competent jurisdiction may make such order as to recovery, restitution or otherwise between the parties to such agreement, decision or concerted practice as may in all the circumstances seem just, having regard in particular to any consideration or benefit given or received by such parties on foot thereof.

Abuse of dominant position.

5.—(1) Any abuse by one or more undertakings of a dominant position in trade for any goods or services in the State or in a substantial part of the State is prohibited.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), such abuse may, in particular, consist in—

(a) directly or indirectly imposing unfair purchase or selling prices or other unfair trading conditions;

(b) limiting production, markets or technical development to the prejudice of consumers;

(c) applying dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage;

(d) making the conclusion of contracts subject to the acceptance by other parties of supplementary obligations which by their nature or according to commercial usage have no connection with the subject of such contracts.

Right of action.

6.—(1) Any person who is aggrieved in consequence of any agreement, decision, concerted practice or abuse which is prohibited under section 4 or 5 shall have a right of action for relief...

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