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Stephen Hornsby
 

After the Article 50 judgment

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This article was first published in Prospect Magazine . Why the European Court should never have ruled on Britain’s right to revoke the Brexit letter All the attention directed to the case of Wightman v Secretary of State for Exiting the European...

UK's gambling companies agree to TV ad ban

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This article first appeared in Sportcal . The UK’s largest gambling companies have agreed a voluntary ban on advertising during live television coverage of sport amid increasing concerns over the harmful effects of gambling addiction, especially...

The 'Big Four' and the UK government: too close for comfort

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A version of this article first appeared on the Open Democracy website. The ‘Big Four’ accountants - an oligopoly if ever there was one as Bill Michael of KPMG has freely admitted - are charged with lowballing statutory audit services to...

The Sky News saga reveals fault lines in UK regulation media ownership

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The Secretary of State’s decision to require Sky News to be sold as a condition of Fox’s bid being allowed to proceed, leaves the field open for a bidding war to take place involving Disney and Comcast. The decision not to intervene in respect of...

Why the FAPL TV rights decline was natural and inevitable

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To justify this headline claim, it is necessary to go back a bit. Prior to the creation of FAPL, football’s domestic prime events were not televised much – mainly because clubs wanted to maintain live high attendance levels and feared that...

Russian doping ban is futile

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This article first appeared on www.sportcal.com , a world-leading provider of sports market intelligence A lot can happen on the way to the Olympic Games podium and the IOC can have some influence on that. But what happens on the podium itself is...

Tesco's Booker buyout is bad news for shoppers

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The watchdog is failing to consider the role of potential competition in Britain’s narrowing grocery sector, writes Stephen Hornsby This article originally appeared in the The Brief, the legal supplement by The Times. It cannot...

IOC-FIS clash over Russian skiers 'a plate of scrambled egg'

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his article first appeared in Sportcal . An embarrassing and potentially damaging rift has opened between the International Olympic Committee and the FIS over their treatment of six Russian skiers that were recently banned for life for doping...

Pfizer's trivial £84.2 million competition law fine highlights the advantages enjoyed by conglomerates

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If George Orwell were alive today, the author of Animal Farm (where all animals are equal but some are more equal than others) would certainly be struck by how fines imposed for breaches of competition law committed by equally culpable companies bear down...

FOX/SKY; how feeble Ofcom report increases Murdoch's chance of success

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Whatever one thinks of Rupert Murdoch, his ambitions to acquire the shares of Sky that he does not already own can only ultimately be constrained by robust theories and facts that persuade an independent regulator that it is more likely than not that the...

Dispute resolution in a future EU / UK trade "deal": what are the likely costs of avoiding indefinite European Court of Justice jurisdiction?

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In most commercial negotiations, discussions about dispute resolution procedures are usually left until last. The parties don’t like to poison negotiations by talking about how they resolve disputes before they even reach agreement. But the future...

Brexit and Article 50 - Does the government really want to defeat the challenges?

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A great deal of the comment on this case, which is summarised in Jonathan Haydn Williams’ note , has not taken into account that it is a typical judicial review, in which the claimants maintain that certain “rights” are to be removed...

The blanket banning of Russian participation in the Paralympics; Swiss courts to choose between Blackstone and Pol Pot

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According to the great English jurist William Blackstone, it is better that ten guilty men go unpunished than one innocent man is convicted. Authoritarian opponents of Blackstone (who, Wikipedia informs us, include Bismarck, Dick Cheney and Pol Pot)...

After the Premier League file closure: is this the new 'industrial policy' in action or time to strip Ofcom of its competition enforcement powers?

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This week’s announcement that Ofcom is closing its investigation into Virgin Media’s complaint that the Premier League is restricting the supply of live TV rights to its matches, in return for the Premier League increasing their number from 168...

Why Britain's current semi-detachment from EU Competition principles could become complete post Brexit

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Much of the speculative commentary on Brexit and its implications for competition law has adopted “a business as usual” analysis. It is said that we are bound to follow EU law while we are members and that it is likely that competition law...

Adam Johnson's gross misconduct: time for meaningful action from the players union

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When it became public that Adam Johnson’s lawyers had somehow disclosed to Sunderland’s Chief Executive (Margaret Byrne) well before his trial, that their client had confessed to one of a number of criminal charges brought against him, the...

Sports Governing Bodies face EU intervention: could their members actually leave the Hotel California as a result?

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The effect of having only one governing body for a sport is to make member clubs and individual athletes like the guests in the fabled Hotel California; they can check out any time they like but they can never leave because there is nowhere else to go to....

What is really wrong with the new criminal cartel offence?

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Too broad, too limited: and too far and too fast. Over the summer, a jury took less than three hours to acquit two businessmen in the galvanised tank industry who had been charged with price fixing. One other member of...

Sport and free market rules: should Pandora's box have stayed closed?

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This article was first published in Lawyer Issue in July 2015, www.lawyerissue.com . In 1984, one of the very first complaints was made to a competition authority about the organisation of a sporting event. Its novelty caused some...

Competition law and the cultural industries: is there now a "social" exemption?

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Collective agreements between unions and employers setting minimum rates of pay which are intended to improve working conditions of employees generally fall outside the scope of competition law. So trades unions can agree minimum fees for their...

Does the FIFA Ban on TPO infringe EU Law?

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Whether it be huge transfer fees, large broadcasting deals or the financial fair play rules, football and finance is rarely out of the news. The latest issue to rear its head is third party ownership of football players. Whilst the issue in the UK dates back...

Virgin Media's Ofcom complaint - payback time for the long suffering fans?

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Stephen Hornsby’s article originally appeared in World Sports Law Report Volume 12, Issue 12, December 2014. To access the original, please visit: http://e-comlaw.com/world-sports-law-report/article_template.asp?ID=1729 Virgin Media’s...

Restraint of Trade, Competition Law and the Transfer Window: a Level Playing Field?

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The January transfer window has once again brought allegations that a Premier League club has made an ‘illegal approach’ to sign a player without involving his current club. This puts the issue of restraint of trade and the FA transfer rules...

UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations (FFPR) settlements, Striani complaint and EU Law

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With attentions naturally focussed on an evenly balanced and therefore particularly exciting World Cup, where a number of less heralded small countries are holding their own and even defeating much larger rivals – the role of UEFA’s Financial...

A New Competition And Markets Authority: But No New Dawn For Public Competition Law Enforcement In The UK

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With a certain amount of trumpeting, the new Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) came into existence on 1 April – thus merging the OFT and the Competition Commission. The CMA has the largest annual budget (£52m) of any...

Should Merger Control Be Repatriated To The UK (And All Other Member States)?

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Since 2012, the Government has been conducting an audit of EU powers (or “competences” to use the jargon) with a view to seeking whether their repatriation to the UK in appropriate cases. In a recent consultation, it has got round to asking...

European Commission Confirms Validity of Exclusive Broadcasting Rights Agreements

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In its Green Paper entitled “Preparing for a fully converged audio visual world” published in the Spring of this year, the Commission gave its gloss on the famous FAPL judgment of the European Court of Justice (Judgment of 4 October 2011). The...

Ofcom will Lose Competition Enforcement Powers

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The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill currently going through Parliament will merge the OFT with the Competition Commission creating the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) and in so doing will broadly align the UK enforcement of...

ECHR - its Growing Influence on Substantive Competition Law

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To date, the impact of the European Convention on Human Rights (EHCR) on competition law has mostly been confined to procedural matters. For example, Article 6 provisions in ECHR that recite a number of fundamental rights of defence, have often been...

Design Copyright Reform: The Hargreaves Process Bears Further Fruit?

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In all the excitement about the (not very significant) changes to digital copyright law brought about by the Hargreaves process, commercially significant changes to UK Design Law have been overlooked. UK Design law, which is highly confusing...

Statutory "Underpinning" of Professional Conduct

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The first act of a dictator seeking to crush dissent, perhaps before even abolishing the free press and blocking the internet, would be to control lawyers (“The first thing we do, lets kill all the lawyers” : Henry VI Part 2). ...

Ofcom and the Pub Landlord: Have Sky and (FAPL) Won?

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Only this month, Ofcom suffered what looks to have been a total wipe-out in front of the Competition Appeal Tribunal in its attempt to regulate the wholesale prices that Sky charges to the likes of BT and Virgin. The judgment in Sky’s favour has...