Monday, 15 November 2010 23:30

Procedure for Undertaking an investigation at the Community Level

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According to the Revised Treaty, only Member States or COTED can make a request of the Commission to undertake an investigation. Individuals or firms must take their complaints to their governments which in turn will submit a request to the CARICOM Commission to investigate, if there is sufficient reason to believe that anti-competititve conduct has taken place that prejudices trade and prevents, restricts or distorts competition in the territory of the requesting Member State.

COTED can also request of the CARICOM Commission that it investigates a case, where it has sufficient reason to believe that cross-border anti-competitive conduct has taken place in the Single Market.

Requests for initiating an investigation must be in writing and must contain sufficient information to allow the CARICOM Commission to make a preliminary assessment on whether an investigation is justified. If so, then the Commission shall consult with the interested parties and determine whether it or the national authority has jurisdiction.

Once it is decided that an investigation shall be conducted, it must be completed within 120 days from receipt of the request for investigation. Where circumstances warrant, this time period may be extended. This provides legal certainty to businesses which can be adversely affected by the undue lingering of investigations.

Once the Commission conducts the enquiry, it will notify the parties of its decision to apply remedies or sanctions and apply a 30 day time limit on compliance by the relevant parties. If the parties fail to comply in the time specified, the Commission may apply to the Court for an order.

The Commission can also request that a national competition authority undertake an investigation where it believes that an enterprise is engaged in anti-competitive conduct that limits or distorts competition in the Single Market.

Where the CARICOM Comission is dissatisfied with the result of the investigation, it may undertake its own preliminary examination, and where findings show that an investigation is merited, it may consult with the national Commission as to who has jurisdiction. If there is a difference in opinion, COTED shall decide.

If a Member State is dissatisfied with the CARICOM Commission's ruling, it may apply to the Caribbean Court of justice (CCJ) for review of the decision. The CCJ is the Final Court of appeal in respect of the decisions of the Commission.

Last modified on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 00:08
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