Competition Law

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Pablo Ibanez Colomo NAB5.16


This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law and LLB in Laws. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available to General Course students.

Course content

Competition is widely understood to be the best means to deliver better products at lower prices. The point of competition law is to preserve the process of rivalry between firms, thereby benefitting consumers and society at large. A broad range of corporate strategies are subject to this field of law. For instance, competition authorities enforce the law against powerful firms (such as Microsoft, Google, or Intel) that have the ability to influence market conditions and to exclude smaller rivals. Competition authorities also have the power to block mergers and acquisitions that have the potential to harm consumers (think of a merger creating a monopoly). Attempts by firms to avoid competing by means of secret arrangements (the so-called ‘cartels’) are another key area of enforcement.

Competition law regimes have progressively become a major feature of legal systems around the world. They have long applied in the US and Europe – including the UK – but have now been adopted (and/or actively enforced), inter alia, in jurisdictions like Brazil, Chile, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa. Unlike other legal disciplines, the relevant provisions in all of these regimes are virtually identical in their form and substance and are enforced in very much the same way. This is, in other words, a truly cosmopolitan field. After this module, you will be equipped to interpret and practice competition law almost anywhere in the world.

After an introduction in which competition law is put in its economic and institutional context, this module will address the main substantive and procedural aspects of the discipline. Topics covered include the following:


  • Anticompetitive agreements between firms (including ‘cartels’ and distribution agreements).
  • Abusive practice by dominant firms.
  • Mergers and acquisitions, including both mergers between competitors and vertical and conglomerate arrangements.


20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT. 20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 2 hours of lectures and 1 hour of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 essays in the MT and LT.

Indicative reading

Whish and Bailey, Competition Law (8th ed 2015); Jones and Sufrin, EU Competition Law (5th ed 2014); Hovenkamp, The Antitrust Enterprise (2005).


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2016/17: 27

Average class size 2016/17: 14

Capped 2016/17: Yes (30)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills