Competition and Consumer Protection Commission:
The functions of the Commission are set out in s.10 of the 2014 Act which consolidate the functions that had previously been assigned to the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency under their respective statutes. These functions include provisions allowing for the promotion of competition, promotion and protection of the interests and welfare of consumers, enforcement of and ensuring compliance with relevant statutory provisions, investigating suspected breaches of relevant provisions (including breaches of Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), setting the strategic objectives of the Commission, advising Government, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and any other Minister or public body in relation to any matter (including legislation) likely to impact on consumer protection and welfare or competition, promotion through public awareness and information campaigns, promotion of the development of alternative dispute resolution procedures as a means of resolving disputes arising out of certain consumer transactions, preparation of guidelines, reviewing and approving certain codes of practice, promotion of the interests of consumers of financial services, co-operation with similar bodies (either in the State or beyond), undertaking relevant research, supporting (if deemed appropriate by the Commission) voluntary bodies whose activities cover consumer protection and welfare or competition, and carrying out studies on any issue relating to consumer protection and welfare or competition.
The Commission has the power to compel persons to provide information or to appear in person before it (ibid s.11). The Commission has a role in reviewing and submitting proposals for legislation relating to consumer protection and welfare and competition issues (ibid s.17).
The Commission has a range of investigative powers including the power to summons witnesses, examine witnesses on oath, requiring witnesses to produce records (ibid s.18). It is an offence to give false or misleading information to the Commission, to fail to attend as a witness before the Commission following a summons to attend, to refuse to take an oath or produce records when requested to do so by the Commission or to engage in any activity that would be deemed to be contempt of court. With the exception of certain areas, the Commission the Minister may give general policy directions to the Commission in relation to the performance of its functions (ibid s.20). The Commission may appoint authorised officers with extensive powers (ibid s.35).
The Commission may carry out such and so many inspections of relevant grocery goods undertakings as it considers necessary to monitor compliance with regulations: Consumer Protection Act 2007 s.63C as inserted by s.83 of the 2014 Act .
See also "Good sauce" by Úna Butler in Law Society Gazette (Aug/Sept 2015) 36; “Representing clients before the Competition Authority” by solicitor Vincent Power in Law Society Gazette (Apr 2004) 44. See website: www.ccpc.ie See GROCERY GOODS; GUN JUMPING; MERGER OF COMPANY, LOCAL PROVISIONS; MEDIA MERGER; PRICE FREEZE; TAKEOVER .
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