The Competition Law Observatory (CLO)

C. A. Varney (editor), The Cartels and Leniency Review, (Law Business Research Ltd, 2014), x + 443 pp., hardback, £235, ISBN: 978-1-907606-91-5.

In the context of a globalised economy, anti-competitive behaviour may interest more than just one jurisdiction. This becomes especially true when companies operate in more than one country. It must also be noted that, often, countries in which a company is active do not belong to the same continent. This makes even more complex the analysis of the principles and functioning of the legal systems potentially involved in cross-border anti-competitive behaviour. Therefore, it is crucial for external legal advisers of companies or for in-house counsel to be able to easily have a quick but reliable look at the main features and characteristics of those jurisdictions where competition problems may arise. This is particularly true in respect of cartels cases and leniency programmes, where time is essential and where procedural rules are everything but standardised.

Edited by Christine A. Varney, formerly US Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust (2009 to 2011) and Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission (1994 to 1997), The Cartels and Leniency Review is a timely and useful tool for those involved with these kinds of issues. Now in its second edition, the book intends, as the Editor clearly states in the introductory chapter, to be a primer and a reference for private practitioners and in-house counsel on the cartel enforcement regimes of the world’s principal competition authorities.

At the outset it must be noted that the new edition of the book focuses on 31 jurisdictions, 5 more than the previous edition, and that the cartel regimes of Austria and Finland are not discussed anymore in the second edition. Among the new “entries”, it is worth mentioning a chapter on Russia. Individual chapters follow a common pattern of topics: enforcement policies and guidance; cooperation with other jurisdictions; jurisdictional limitations, affirmative defences and exemptions; leniency programmes; penalties; “day one” response; private enforcement; current developments. This common structure allows the reader to easily compare different domestic legislative approaches or practical solutions to common issues. Just to give an example, differences emerge quite easily among several jurisdictions when looking at the existence of extradition obligations for cartel offences: whilst in the United Kingdom individuals may be extradited for prosecution for participation in a cartel, Spanish judges will be unlikely to accede to extradition requests from foreign jurisdictions as in Spain there is no regulation providing for criminal sanctions for competition infringements.

Overall the book covers all the continents, although Africa is, geographically speaking, fairly under-represented with just one chapter on Nigeria. The length of the chapters is between 10 and 15 pages, with the exception of the 39 pages of the chapter on the United States. Needless to say, this difference in length allows the authors of the US chapter to provide a much more detailed and comprehensive overview of the cartel and leniency regimes in place there. All chapters, however, are clearly written and allow grasping the essence and main features of the cartel regimes for each jurisdiction. The result is that the reader has a first, clear knowledge of the procedure and functioning of a particular regime. This is after all the aim pursued by the book and, as such, it is largely achieved.

In conclusion, the book under review is a useful, authoritative and manageable “first aid” tool for companies and their legal advisers in addressing cartels investigations which may take place in jurisdictions other than the ones they are familiar with.

Reviewed May 2014 by
Riccardo Sciaudone
Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief

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