The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released a draft of its new Immunity and Cooperation Policy for Cartel Conduct (ICP) and supplementary Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for public comment.
Given the importance of its cartel immunity program, the ACCC regularly reviews the effectiveness of its immunity policy. Following targeted consultation in 2013, the ACCC has simplified the format of the policy into one policy document and a set of frequently asked questions. The draft ICP also incorporates the following key changes identified during the consultation phase of the review:
- Streamlining the processes of granting civil and criminal immunity;
- Clarifying the criteria for assessing a party’s eligibility for immunity; and
- Inclusion of further detail on how cooperation by second and subsequent parties to a cartel will be assessed by the ACCC.
“The current policy has proven successful in cracking cartels by encouraging parties to self-report their conduct,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
“In 2013 alone, the ACCC Immunity Hotline received 27 approaches, resulting in 13 in-depth cartel investigations.”
“The amendments to the policy are aimed at simplifying and clarifying the current policy documents increasing certainty for immunity applicants and streamlining the immunity application process," Mr Sims said.
The ACCC seeks comment from interested parties on the draft ICP and FAQs before publishing the final documents.
The ACCC invites submissions on the draft ICP and FAQs in a non-confidential form. The closing date for submissions is 7 May 2014. To view the draft documents and make a submission, please visit our consultation hub.