We have been reminded by a judgement of the European Court of Justice concerning the meaning of “concerted practice” in Article 81(1) EC that a single meeting is sufficient to establish that there is a concerted practice.
The case arose because the national competition authority in the Netherlands had fined the country’s mobile phone operators in connection with an alleged concerted practice in breach of national competition law (Article 6(1)). “Concerted practice” in the Netherlands competition law is expressly defined as meaning any concerted practice with the meaning of Article 81(1) EC, so the case was referred by the Administrative Court for Trade and Industry to the ECJ for it to give a preliminary ruling on what was meant under Article 81(1) by a concerted practice.
In the UK the Chapter I prohibition on anti-competitive agreements etc. in the Competition Act 1998 includes the phrase “concerted practices” (section 2(1)), which would be interpreted by any UK court in line with this ECJ judgement.