Civil pecuniary penalties
A breach of the competition law provisions can give rise to civil pecuniary penalties. A civil penalty is a financial penalty (otherwise known as a fine) imposed by the court against a company or individual for breaching the law and is designed to deter the contravening party and others from breaching the law.
If the ACCC takes a business to court alleging that it has breached a competition provision in the CCA and seeks a civil penalty, it must prove the contravention on the balance of probabilities, that is that the conduct was more likely to have occurred than not.
A business that breaches a competition law provision may be ordered to pay a civil penalty. The maximum amount of the civil penalty is the greater of:
- $10 million
- three times the benefit gained by the business as a result of the breach, or
- 10 per cent of the business's annual turnover.
Individuals personally involved in a breach of the competition law provisions may have to pay a penalty of up to $500 000.