Introduction to the CMA

Introduction to the CMA

A brief look at what the Competition and Market Authority does, and its regulations.

By Marcia Smith

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is a non-ministerial public body responsible for promoting competition to benefit consumers inside and outside the UK. It took over many of the responsibilities of the Competition Commission and the Office of Fair Trading in early 2014.

The organisation investigates possible threats to competition, including mergers and breaches of UK and EU anti-competitive prohibitions. It has powers to bring criminal proceedings against individuals and organisations for cartel offences and enforces consumer protection legislation. It also conducts market studies and investigations where there may be competition problems. It works with organisations including Trading Standards, Citizens Advice and business and consumer groups.

Regulations can be found on the CMA website, and are split into several different sections - each of which contains guidance for businesses, the government’s policies for investigation and prosecution, case study examples, decisions and forms.

The regulations cover:

– The Competition Act and cartels (including guidance for specific industries such as transport and farming)

– Consumer protection (including protection from unfair contract terms)

– Markets

– Mergers

The regulations can be complex, so it’s advisable to seek independent legal advice if you’re concerned about your compliance with CMA regulations.