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The uncertainties surrounding Brexit have not spared competition law. The UK had previously enjoyed a central position in the development of EU competition policy as well as in the implementation of EU competition law. In the book Brexit and Competition Law, Barry Rodger and Andreas Stephan had the ambition to analyse the short and long term practical consequences of Brexit on competition law.
The book begins with a general introduction to EU and UK competition law. The introduction, appreciated for its clarity and synthetic nature, allows the book to be equally accessible to readers not familiar with the subject. The authors then analyse the impact of Brexit on five areas, which make up the various chapters of the book: "Legislation, Institutions and Cooperation" (chapter 1), "Anti-competitive Agreements and Abuse of Dominance" (chapter 2), "Private Enforcement" (chapter 3), "UK Merger Control" (chapter 4) and finally "State Aid" (chapter 5).
In the first chapter, the authors identify the institutional challenges facing the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and analyse the normative impact of Brexit on competition law. They advocate a limited exchange of confidential information based on bilateral agreements between competition authorities. In the second chapter, dedicated to anti-competitive practices and abuse of dominance, the authors analyze the application of antitrust rules by showing the pre- and post-Brexit differences. They list the important risks of divergences both with regard to Article 101 TFEU (block exemptions and restrictions by object or effect) and Article 102 TFEU (fair price and "more economic approach"). In their view, the differences in approach between the UK and the EU should be particularly marked for digital markets. In a third chapter, Barry Rodger and Andreas Stephan trace the institutional and legal development that has placed London as the forum of choice for private enforcement, before taking a critical look at the future consequences of the Brexit by weighing up the different factors involved.
Merger control (Chapter 4) is particularly impacted by the Brexit, as companies operating in the UK and the EU will no longer benefit from the single merger control ("one-stop shop") and will have to submit their project to both the GCA and the Commission. The book analyses the consequences of this dual control, which will be all the more felt in the digital sector. Finally, the impact of Brexit on the state aid regime (Chapter 5) is discussed, a highly sensitive issue in the negotiations to reach the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. The authors depict the UK’s - at times troubled - relationship with EU state aid rules, while also making a link to World Trade Organization rules. The study of the Northern Ireland Protocol is also included.
In summary, Barry Rodger and Andreas Stephan’s book provides a realistic approach to the immediate and future (including legislative) consequences of Brexit on UK competition law. The authors use pedagogy to make the book accessible to a wide audience, particularly academics and legal practitioners. Its synthetic style in no way detracts from its informative nature and allows the reader to easily acquire an overview of the issues and consequences of Brexit on competition law. This is one of the first books on the subject!