The Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 (the "2014 Act") came into force on 31 October 2014 and contains a number of significant changes to Irish competition and consumer law which we have set out below
Competition Law Enforcement
On 31 October 2014 the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency were amalgamated to form the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission ("CCPC")
The CCPC has the full range of consumer, competition and criminal powers of the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency, along with the following additional powers put in place by the 2014 Act:
Under section 33 of the 2014 Act, the CCPC may compel parties to disclose information to it even if such information may turn out to be privileged legal material. The confidentiality of the information disclosed must be maintained pending a determination by the High Court as to whether the information is privileged legal material. Section 24 of the 2014 Act provides for the CCPC to share information with other authorities including An Garda Síochána, the Director of Corporate Enforcement and the Revenue Commissioners which in the opinion of the CCPC may relate to the commission of certain offences. A detained person can be released and their detention suspended for further investigations during the suspension period. Under Section 89 of the 2014 Act, where the CCPC is satisfied that certain data is required for the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of a competition offence, it may make a request for data from a telecommunications service provider retained under the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011. Telephone and internet service providers are required to retain call and data records for up to 2 years. Section 90 of the 2014 Act amends the Criminal Justice Act 2011 (the "2011 Act") so as to bring cartel offences within the full scope of that Act. The 2011 Act makes it an offence for a person not to report to Gardaí information which they know or believe might be of material assistance in preventing the commission of certain offences or, amongst other things, securing the conviction of any persons for those relevant offences. As a result, the Garda Síochána can obtain an Order requiring production of information to investigate cartels. Section 37 of the 2014 Act sets out further provisions which grant the CCPC and its officials increased rights and powers to contribute to, and...