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Last year, there were a number of notable developments in competition law, as detailed in this article, several of which involve or are relevant to the construction industry. The Ocean Park case concerned proceedings against a company and its director for exchanging competitively sensitive information with a co-tenderer in a bidding exercise. A number of judgments were handed down in proceedings against contractors. One such judgment was the first ever pecuniary penalty judgment, which was against ten contractors who were found to have contravened the competition law by participating in a market sharing and price fixing agreement. The judgment is important, as it sets out the four steps that the Tribunal adopts to determine the amount of penalty to be imposed, including looking at any mitigating circumstances. Another judgment handed down last year was the first in which a director disqualification order was made. Again, this was a case involving contractors and individuals who were found to have participated in a price fixing and market sharing agreement in connection with the provision of decoration works. As noted in the article, non-compliance with the Competition Ordinance can be severe, including substantial fines and director disqualification and all businesses in Hong Kong should therefore review their business practices and company procedures to ensure they fully comply with the law.
Deacons’ construction team is able to advise on competition law issues arising in the construction industry, formulate best practice policies and provide training and webinars to ensure compliance with competition law. This may become relevant in mitigating the liability of directors when the Court is considering what penalty should be imposed.
As well as lawyers experienced in all aspects of competition law, Deacons has its own in house competition economist. Please contact our team for further information about the services that they can provide.
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