International Law Firm Responds to Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill

The UK Government today launched its draft legislation – the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill – which many believe will offer similar consumer protections to that already introduced in the EU via the EU Digital Services Act Package.  The move has been welcomed by many.

Peter Harper, Partner, Competition, Trade and Foreign Investment Group, Eversheds Sutherland said:

“What is clear from the Bill is that the CMA will be at the heart of the UK Government’s plans to regulate the digital economy. The CMA’s new powers are sweeping – and it has been given a big stick to enforce these new powers. Not only will it be able to determine which companies are regulated, it will also be able to set expectations as to how regulated digital companies conduct themselves and will have broad powers of investigation.

“Given the importance of this new digital markets regime for UK Government policy, both the CMA and the UK Government will be keen for the CMA’s Digital Markets Unit to use these powers (and to be seen to be doing so). The CMA has been actively building up the DMU so that the DMU can hit the ground running. However, a key question will be the extent to which the Bill and the DMU becomes a forum for complaints?

“The Bill also reinforces and broadens the CMA’s powers to carry out faster and more flexible investigations and take enforcement action against anti-competitive conduct to do more to protect consumers, businesses and to support the economy. For example, it expressly enables the CMA to assess anti-competitive conduct which takes place outside of the UK but which impacts the UK economy. Similarly, the CMA’s continued and often high profile role in assessing M&A deals is expanded while a whole new suite of powers are afforded to the CMA to enable it to investigate and fine companies for breaches of consumer law.

“We expect the CMA to fully utilise its new powers when the Bill takes effect – evidence of a clear step-change in competition regulation in the UK that is just beginning.”