The Amendment Act increases the Irish merger control and competition law powers of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC). These new powers will have material implications for everyone doing business in Ireland, and with Ireland.
The main changes introduced by the Amendment Act include
increased merger control powers for the CCPC (such as the statutory ability to call in unnotified ‘sub-threshold’ transactions, the ability to impose interim measures on notified deals and, in certain cases, the ability to unwind anti-competitive transactions)
new EU and Irish competition law administrative investigation and enforcement powers for the CCPC
changes to criminal law sanctions, including a new offence of bid-rigging, increased fines and new standards of proof for competition law breaches
increased dawn raid powers for the CCPC
increased surveillance powers for the CCPC
The new Irish regime will bring greater potential scrutiny to unnotified sub-threshold mergers. In addition, the new procedures and powers of, in particular, the CCPC to investigate and enforce EU and Irish competition law represent a fundamental change to the current competition law landscape.
Our EU, Competition and Procurement team has written extensively on the Amendment Act, most recently in connection with guidance issued by the CCPC setting out policies, procedures and guidelines on how parts of the new EU and Irish competition law administrative investigation and enforcement system is expected to operate. The EU, Competition and Procurement team – which is the current “The Lawyer European Competition Team of the Year” - will provide more detailed client updates on the Amendment Act on a rolling basis here.
The commencement order (Statutory Instrument No. 448/2023) was signed by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment on 13 September 2023 and the Amendment Act will enter into operation on 27 September 2023 (excluding section 26).