The University of Southampton
Courses

LAWS3159 Competition Law

Module Overview

This module offers you an opportunity to delve into the rules of competition law in the EU and UK. Competition law, whether on an international or national level, is an important influence on companies' business strategy. The aim of the module is to give a thorough understanding of competition law and the ability to analyse cases or situations from a European and UK perspective for the purpose of either practice or research in the field. EU competition law has played a major role in the creation of the EU Internal Market and is becoming an increasingly important element of the everyday life of a European business. UK competition law is increasingly instrumental in shaping and regulating markets such as the telecommunication, the energy sector and the railroads to ensure a fairer deal for consumers and better products. The Competition and Markets Authority plays a central role in enforcing competition law in the UK and it also works with the EU Commission to ensure coherence between EU and national law. The module will cover agreements between undertakings, unilateral conduct, merger regulation and the enforcement of EU and UK competition law. In the module, you will examine cartels, vertical agreements, price discrimination, refusal to supply and restrictive mergers in detail to gain an understanding of what is permissible conduct and what is not. The module will enable you to consider the underlying policies behind the competition rules in both the EU and UK, how they work together and have developed over the years, and how they could be improved. You will have the opportunity to construct arguments on competition law issues clearly and coherently orally through seminar discussion and to a group of peers.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To give a thorough understanding of competition law and the ability to analyse cases or situations from a European and UK perspective for the purpose of either practice or research in the field. The module will cover agreements between undertakings, unilateral conduct, merger regulation and the enforcement of EU and UK competition law. In the module, you will examine cartels, vertical agreements, price discrimination, refusal to supply and restrictive mergers in detail to gain an understanding of what is permissible conduct and what is not. The module will enable you to consider the underlying policies behind the competition rules in both the EU and UK, how they work together and have developed over the years, and how they could be improved. You will have the opportunity to construct arguments on competition law issues clearly and coherently orally through seminar discussion and to a group of peers.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • EU and UK competition law and policy including the regulation of monopolies and oligopolies, merger regulation, anticompetitive agreements and practices, the relationship between the EU and national competition authorities including the Courts as well as the enforcement of EU and UK competition law;
  • The relationship between competition law and economic theories
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • identify sources of information relevant to competition law and practice and analysis of primary and secondary legislative materials
  • tackle a given factual scenario effectively through identification, evaluation, use and referencing of resources;
  • carry out self-directed research including retrieval and evaluation of accurate and relevant information from a range of appropriate sources including, but not exclusive to primary legal sources;
  • construct a coherent evaluation of a current issue in the field of competition law from the identified sources and communicate that evaluation effectively in writing demonstrating an awareness of academic integrity.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • analyse, interpret and evaluate complex material, including statistical data
  • engage in critical analysis and evaluation to effectively apply knowledge to solve practical problems;
  • formulate an effective, reasoned and structured argument and present it supported by appropriate evidence;
  • demonstrate and engagement with personal and professional development especially intellectual independence, in asking and answering cogent questions about the law and legal systems

Syllabus

The module will cover the following topics, although not always in the order listed here as this will depend on the current issues and ‘hot topics’ being dealt with by the European Commission or European Court of Justice during the running of the module. • The objectives of competition Law • The relationship between EU and UK competition law • Unilateral conduct of dominant companies • Merger regulation • Cartels • Vertical and horizontal agreements • The object and effect rule • Exemptions, including Block Exemption regulations • Objective justifications and or efficiency defences • Enforcement of the competition rules in the EU and UK

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods: You will be taught in a two-hourly seminar, once a week. Learning activities include: • Directed Reading (as per distributed reading lists) • Preparing and writing formative coursework and self-reflection of that process • Preparing and writing summative coursework • (Management of) independent research (for coursework) • Preparation and delivery of oral presentation • Class discussion (including small group work).

TypeHours
Wider reading or practice10
Completion of assessment task50
Follow-up work10
Preparation for scheduled sessions60
Lecture20
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

The website of the European Commission, Competition Director General.

The website of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Whish and Bailey (2015). Competition Law. 

The website of the European Union.

The website of the UK Competition and Markets Authority.

Assessment

Formative

Essay

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 100%

Repeat

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Costs

Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

The only cost associated with this module is the purchase of the core textbook Whish, R. and D. Bailey: Competition Law Oxford University Press (2015) – in January 2016 a new print copy cost £40 and an up-to-date EU Law Statute book approximately £50-60

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

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