Competition law, Ireland Merger law, Ireland Ireland, Law and legislation
Lyons, Patrick M. 'Competition and merger law and practice in Ireland: 1953-2002', [Dublin], 2007, 532p
"The year 2003 constituted an important milestone in the history of competition law in Ireland. It was fifty years since the first competition legislation was enacted – the Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1953 – one of the first in the world. By an interesting coincidence, 2003 also marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the introduction of merger control in Ireland under the Mergers, Take-Overs and Monopolies (Control) Act, 1978, again one of the world’s first examples of merger control.
To mark the double occasion, Pat Massey, Moore McDowell and Paddy Lyons presented a joint paper to the Dublin Economics Workshop Annual Economic Policy Conference in Kenmare on 11 October 2003 – “Boston v Berlin. Fifty Years of Irish Antitrust”. The paper described Irish experience of competition policy in three stages – 1953 to 1978, from 1978 to 1991, and the period after 1991, and it offered some suggestions about possible changes in policy.
The present author considered that it would also be desirable to undertake an in-depth study of competition law and its implementation in Ireland since 1953. This study aims to present a comprehensive archive of the legislation and the work done by the Fair Trade Commission and the Restrictive Practices Commission, by the Examiner of Restrictive Practices and the Director of Consumer Affairs (and Fair Trade), and, since 1991, by the Competition Authority.
The study starts by describing in detail the development of competition law in Ireland from 1953 to 2002, and the development of merger control law from 1978 to 2002. This is followed by a description of the work of the Fair Trade Commission and the Restrictive Practices Commission from 1953 to 1991, particularly in relation to reports of enquiries and the consequential Ministerial Orders, with especial reference to the grocery and motor spirit sectors. There is also included an account of studies by the Commission, and subsequent developments, including legislative changes, such as the Solicitors (Amendment) Act, 1994. The work of the Examiner of Restrictive Practices and that of the Director of Consumer Affairs (and Fair Trade), where relevant, is summarised as well.
There is then an extensive treatment of the work of the Competition Authority from 1991 to 2002, principally the treatment of agreements notified under the 1991 Act.
A summary is given of all decisions by the Authority, and there is an outline of other activities of the Authority, including enforcement activity since 1996.
The final main section of the study examines merger control from 1978 to 2002, involving investigations and reports into notified mergers, and ensuing Ministerial Orders. Reports of merger investigations by the Examiner or the Director, between 1978 and 1987, were not published, nor were reports by the Commission between 1987 and 1991. Merger reports by the Competition Authority between 1991 and 2002, however, were published.
The period covered by the study ends with the coming into force of the Competition Act, 2002, which represented an important watershed in Irish competition law. The competition provisions commenced in mid-2002, and the merger provisions at the start of 2003. Mention is made, however, of some more important developments after 2002, such as the revocation of the Groceries Order in 2006.
The study is intended to be a factual archive of competition law and policy, rather than a critical examination of their relevance and effectiveness." - Preface
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