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In 2001 the Department published a study comparing the effectiveness of the UK competition regime with its peers in the OECD. The UK was found to be in the top half of its peer group, but ranking below the two well-established competition regimes of Germany and the USA. The report also contains a number of policy recommendations.
In 2004, the Department produced a second review of OECD competition regimes. It recognised that the UK regime had improved, following changes brought about by the Enterprise Act 2002 but it concluded that it was too soon to see the full impact of these changes on the ground. The UK was still ranked behind the USA and Germany.
2007 - new report published. The survey concludes that the UK competition regime continues to be perceived as one of the best in the world. The introduction of the Enterprise Act 2002 has helped the UK narrow the gap with the US and draw almost level with Germany. Whilst the results are very positive, the report also concludes that there is no scope for complacency as other regimes, such as in the EU, are also improving.
In 2008 BERR commissioned Professor Rachael Mulheron of Queen Mary University of London to produce a research paper, comparing the private collective action cases which have been initiated in Australia, Canada and Portugal under their respective opt-out class action regimes, in respect of alleged or proven anti-competitive infringements.
Each of the countries has an opt-out regime, whereby a claimant can bring an action on behalf of a class. Each country’s statutory regime allows the class to be described, rather than consist of named persons, and any judgment on the common issues affecting the class members is binding upon them all, unless class members elect to opt out. This research was commissioned to inform the Departments interest in the possibility of extending the circumstances under which representative bodies could take actions under UK competition law.