Charities and competition law

For many, particularly charities, membership associations and those active in public or third sectors, competition law is about as relevant as particle physics. There is still a widely-held belief that the competition world of cartels, abuse of dominance and mergers is a galaxy away. So hold onto your hats: competition law applies to the majority of organisations offering goods and services in the UK and throughout the developed world (but perhaps not Outer Space). It is not just for the conglomerates or plcs of this world. In recent years, it has become apparent that even small, regional outfits cannot escape the gaze of the competition authorities.


Something else which might surprise you is that awareness of competition law can be hugely beneficial. It can be deployed to attack anti-competitive behaviour by competitors or suppliers which is causing you harm. It can be used to level the playing field once more.

At BWB, our extensive experience across the public and private sectors of the UK economy means we have a good understanding of the dynamics at play. That means in turn that we are in a good place to help you. As a teaser, we recently advised an awarding organisation consider whether it was behaving in an anti-competitive way towards its competitors; a membership association on the difference between objective collaboration and anti-competitive collusion between its members; an SME as to whether it needed to notify a business acquisition to the competition authorities for clearance; a social enterprise in assessing whether it had breached the EU State aid rules in respect of grant funding; and a non-EU company on the impact of competition law on its UK activities. Any of it sound familiar?

We will work out what you need to do to ensure your organisation is competition law compliant in a jargon-free, approachable manner. We will help you defend yourselves from spurious claims by competitors (and try to get you out of hot water if you have strayed). Or perhaps you are even considering a joint venture or an acquisition? We can help there too and guide you through UK merger control.

Click here for more information or to speak to a member of our Competition Law team.

This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.

All content on this page is correct as of September 12, 2017.