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Competition law concerns the preservation and promotion of competition in Australia. As a critical component of micro-economic policy, this field of law is underpinned by economic theory and is primarily (though not exclusively) driven by economic goals. This subject focuses on the regulation of anti-competitive practices under Part IV of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth). In particular, it examines the regulation of mergers and acquisitions, the misuse of market power, and horizontal and vertical restraints.
This subject also addresses the policies and practices involved in enforcing competition law and considers contemporary global competition law and policy issues and some international and comparative perspectives. This subject not only ensures that students have an advanced understanding of the technical aspects of this legal specialty, it also enables them to critically analyse the law from both policy and practical perspectives and introduces them to an interdisciplinary approach in the study of law, through the introduction and application of economic concepts and theories in a legal context.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students will have:
An integrated understanding of the following specialised topics:
- the policy objectives of legislating to regulate anti-competitive practices;
- the economic concepts and theories relating to markets, competition, and competition law;
- the interpretation and application of the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 to regulating anti-competitive conduct; and
- the roles played by regulatory authorities and courts in enforcing the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and the controversies that arise in connection with enforcement practices and outcomes.
Additionally, students will have:
- the ability to critically assess the impacts of competition law and regulation on businesses, consumers, markets, and the economy;
- a sophisticated insight into the political dimensions of competition regulation and their consequences for the content and enforcement of the law;
- an advanced ability to undertake statutory interpretation and case analysis through construing the complex provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and reviewing the cases in which those provisions have been applied;
- developed specialised skills in oral communication and in particular, in the articulation at a sophisticated level of arguments and views concerning the subject material; and
- through the assessment by examination, demonstrated a clear ability to construct and communicate in writing a sophisticated argument based on understanding the facts, identifying the issues, analysing the applicable law and applying the law to the facts in a way akin to the process undertaken by competition lawyers in practice.
On completion of the subject, students should have developed their skills in the following ways:
- Specialist understanding, interpretation, critical reflection, synthesis and comparison of the statutory text governing competition law in Australia;
- Specialist understanding, interpretation, critical reflection, synthesis and comparison of the cases relating to competition law and enforcement in Australia;
- Analysing, comparing and reflecting critically on policy documents relating to competition law and enforcement in Australia;
- Critically evaluating proposals for reform of Australian competition law and enforcement having regard, amongst other things, to international comparisons;
- Formulating and articulating views on difficult technical issues relating to competition law and enforcement in oral discussion in class, in a manner displaying the development of professional judgment; and
- The capacity to grasp a new set of facts, identify the legal/economic problem that arises on the facts, and identify and apply the relevant law in response to the problem, showing the kind of professional expertise and judgment of the kind that would be required in practice as a competition lawyer.
Last updated: 11 November 2022