Tertiary education program

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.