LWMTCM-Competition Law

Module Provider: School of Law
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Mr Athanassios Skourtis

Email: a.skourtis@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
The object of the module is to prepare students for issues likely to arise in the enforcement of competition legislation. Most importantly, there will be an emphasis on evolutionary aspects of policy making and competition law enforcement, given the varying rules in different jurisdictions.

This general competition module seeks to give students a thorough grounding in the essentials of competition law from a European perspective. The course will also take a comparative law perspective and we will provide examples from cases in other major non-EU jurisdictions (such as the United States, China, Japan) as well as some EU Member States' jurisdictions (e.g. the UK, Germany, France) that highlight the specificity of the European approach in competition law. This is particularly important, as EU competition law has served as the main model for many other competition law regimes in the world. Overall, the module takes a practical approach with a number of case studies and always with an eye to real world implications of case law and doctrine.

Assessable learning outcomes:
On completion of the module, students will be expected to be able to:

- Define and analyse the relevant market for the assessment of anticompetitive conduct
- Identify and critically assess alleged anticompetitive agreements on the basis of factors such as: existence of undertaking, existence of agreement, conduct and effect of agreement. Students will also be expected to assess the level of fines that are imposed on cartels.
- Identify and evaluate the alleged existence of abusive conduct by assessing: existence of a dominant company, abusive conduct and effect of the abuse.
- Identify and critically assess the effects of a merger by assessing jurisdiction for the merger, examining unilateral and coordinated effects and appraising the existence of efficiencies and remedies.

Additional outcomes:
In addition to those listed in the School’s ‘core skills statement’ the module will encourage the development of:

- High-level oral communication skills through reflective, analytical class discussion
- High-level writing skills through close and critical analysis of both primary and secondary source material
- An ability to apply theoretical and contextual knowledge to practical problems that face people working in the field
- A sophisticated appreciation of the inter-play between law and economics in the context of EU competition law

Outline content:
The module takes an interdisciplinary approach in exploring how the balance between law and economics, on the one hand, and ex post and ex ante rules, on the other, is struck, both at a theoretical level and in practice. The module will start by looking at the history of competition law before looking at the essentials of competition economics and the definition of a market and will present a market definition case study. Subsequently, students will address the essentials of Article 101 (undertaking, agreement, etc.), as well as the modern approach to the application of Article 101(3) in defending anticompetitive agreements. A very important aspect of the module is the treatment of cartels in competition enforcement, which can be penalised with significant fines for anticompetitive practices. Then students will look at vertical agreements between suppliers and distributors of goods/services.

After a thorough analysis of Article 101, we will look at Article 102. We will see the essentials of Article 102 and discuss whether there are guidelines for the application of Article 102. Then we will tackle each abuse (tying/bundling, exclusive dealing, price discrimination, and refusal to supply) and explore possible justifications. The final part of the module will address merger control and the EU Merger Regulation in assessing supranational transactions that can affect the European market. The module will finish with a moot court case study where students will have a chance to tackle in practice the concepts discussed.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Teaching in this module is designed to provide students with a range of resources on which they can draw in their learning. The main elements are:

- A list of required and recommended readings, with notes and questions that will be used to guide class discussion and reflection.
- Ten weekly seminar classes of 2 hours each. These are discussion-based classes.
- Optional non-assessed work that will be used to develop students’ skills and knowledge.

Leading practitioners/competition authority officials specialising in the enforcement of competition law will be invited as guest lecturers. Students are encouraged to actively engage with the issues being addressed.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 20
Guided independent study 180
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
1 assessed essay of 15 pages (formatted in accordance with the School of Law's Assessed Work Rules)

Formative assessment methods:
1 optional non-assessed essay of 4 pages (formatted in accordance with the School of Law’s Assessed Work Rules)

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the standard University policy.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
See School of Law PGT Programme Handbook

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books

Last updated: 18 September 2018


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