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Criminal Sanctions for Cartel Conduct: The Leniency Conundrum

(2017) 13(1) Journal of Competition Law & Economics 125-149 2016



'Criminal sanctions for individual offenders and leniency policies each have emerged as significant features of the cartel enforcement discourse globally in the last ten to fifteen years. However, the relationship between them and the implications of their combination remain largely unexplored. This article examines both the instrumental and normative dimensions of the relationship. It concludes that, on the current evidence, the case for criminalization on the grounds of enhancing leniency effectiveness is weak and that a leniency policy may undermine the normative function and force of the criminal law. The clear overarching implication of these conclusions is that the cartel criminalization-leniency combination is to be approached with considerable caution.'

See also: 'Sanctions in Antitrust Cases' (OECD Background Material for Session IV at the 15th Global Forum on Competition, 1-2 December 2016)