Volume 1 - Issue 1
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Ireland's national competition legislation, like that of many EU Member States largely mirrors the basic prohibitions on anti-competitive behaviour contained in Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty. Breaches of Irish competition law constitute criminal offences and, in the case of cartels, managers and directors of offending firms may be imprisoned if convicted of such behaviour. The concept of an administrative fine, which exists in many other EU Member States, is not recognised under Irish constitutional law. Penal sanctions may only be imposed on parties found guilty of a criminal offence. The Competition Act, 2002 provides that breaches of Articles 81 and 82 constitute criminal offences. This paper reviews experience of the application of national competition legislation in Ireland and assess the implications of such experience for decentralised application of EU law in Ireland. It also considers arguments for and against criminal penalties for breaches of competition law.
• ©2003-2011 Angus MacCulloch & Andrew Matthews •