Litigating director disqualification

Global Video April 2024 09:29

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Let's talk antitrust

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The CMA has significantly increased use of its director disqualification powers in recent years to help deter individuals from infringing UK competition law. Directors risk being disqualified for up to 15 years where they knew or ought to have known that their company was involved in an infringement. Kyle Le Croy and Richard Whish KC discuss this trend, including greater litigation in this area.

Relevant individuals can agree a period of disqualification with the CMA by way of undertakings, but the CMA is also increasingly pursuing disqualification orders in the High Court where individuals are unwilling to agree undertakings. Having been disqualified, some individuals have sought permission to continue to act as a director or otherwise be concerned in the management of a company. The High Court notably rejected such a request in February 2024 regarding a director who had previously agreed to be disqualified for seven years for their role in construction bid rigging.

The directors disqualified to date tend to be from smaller companies, but directors of larger companies are at greater risk with the CMA now investigating the UK aspects of the largest antitrust cases post-Brexit, whereas the European Commission (which does not have disqualification powers) tended to do so in the past.

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Senior Associate