UCL Faculty of Laws


The challenging nature of cartel criminalisation: A case study of the UK

03 February 2015, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm


Event Information

Open to



Centre for Law, Economics & Society


UCL Laws, Bentham House, Endsleigh Gardens, London WC1H 0EG

Speaker: Dr Peter Whelan, University of Leeds
Chair: Professor Ioannis Lianos, UCL
Admission: Free
Accreditation: This event is accredited with 1 CPD hour with the SRA (BSB pending)
Series: Centre for Law, Economics & Society conferences

About this lecture

There is a growing tendency within the EU to criminalise ‘hard core’ cartel activity. One of the EU Member States that currently imposes criminal sanctions (imprisonment) for cartel activity is the UK. Although the Cartel Offence has been on the UK legislative books for more than ten years, efforts to enforce it to date have been subjected to considerable criticism.

The UK Government recently conceded that enforcement of the Cartel Offence had been ineffective and that legislative change was required in order to reform the Cartel Offence so that it would become fit for purpose. Following a lengthy consultation process, legislative reform of the Cartel Offence was undertaken.

On 1 April 2014, Section 47 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 entered into force, ensuring significant changes to the criminal UK Cartel Offence. Dr Whelan’s presentation examines in detail the specific reforms of the Cartel Offence and argues that, although considerable improvement has been made, the UK authorities currently have at their disposal a criminal offence that is fundamentally flawed and unworkable in practice. He therefore argues that further reform is advised.

About the speaker

Dr Peter Whelan is an Associate Professor in Law at the School of Law, University of Leeds, where he is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies. He has degrees in law from Trinity College Dublin and a PhD in Law from St John’s College, University of Cambridge. A qualified US Attorney-at-Law, Peter is an expert in competition law and criminal law. He sits on the Editorial Boards of World Competition, Journal of Antitrust Enforcement, and New Journal of European Criminal Law and has published widely in specialist competition law journals, as well as in generalist law journals (including Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Cambridge Law Journal and Modern Law Review).

He has provided oral evidence on cartel criminalization to the New Zealand Parliament and was recently appointed as an International Expert by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority to advise it on the desirability of introducing criminal cartel sanctions in Finland. Peter recently published a monograph with Oxford University Press on the criminalization of European cartel enforcement. Peter is currently the Managing Editor of Oxford Competition Law.