Competition Law

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Pablo Ibanez Colomo

Additional teachers: Dr Niamh Dunne


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

Course content

Competition is widely understood to be the best means to deliver better goods and services at lower prices. The point of competition law is to preserve the process of rivalry between firms, and, by doing so, to benefit 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 large multinational firms (such as Microsoft, Google, or Intel) that have the ability to influence market conditions and exclude smaller rivals. Competition authorities also have the power to block mergers and acquisitions that are capable of harming 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 are 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. This is, in other words, a truly cosmopolitan field. After this module, you will be equipped to understand 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 practices by dominant firms.
  • Mergers and acquisitions, including both mergers between competitors and vertical and conglomerate transactions.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 40 hours across Michaelmas Term and Lent Term. This year some or all of this teaching will be delivered through recorded online lectures and a mix of both in-person and online classes to accommodate students who are unable to physically be on campus.  This course includes a reading week in Weeks 6 of Michaelmas Term and Lent Term.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to produce 2 formative essays per term

Indicative reading

N. Dunne, A. Jones and B. Sufrin, EU Competition Law (Oxford: OUP, 7th ed, 2019); and H. Hovenkamp, The Antitrust Enterprise (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005).


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

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2019/20: 28

Average class size 2019/20: 14

Capped 2019/20: Yes (29)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills