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Corporate executives are entitled to human rights in competition law investigations, Competition & Consumer Law Journal

Although Australia has had a strong competition law enforcement system since the mid-1970s, since that time Australia’s enforcement policy has progressively become stricter and more expansive with more significant sanctions and wider powers for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to investigate anti-competitive behaviour.

In investigating anti-competitive behaviour, it is important that the ACCC not breach binding international norms to which Australia has subscribed under the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political rights, more specially by providing the right against self-incrimination and, arguably, an implicit requirement to adopt a criminal legal standard of proof in investigating offences which attract a significant civil penalty. This article applies international human rights case-law in assessing whether the Australian competition law system complies with the international law requirements. In our view the failure of the Australian legislation to accord a protection against self-incrimination and the approach of proving competition law cases only to a civil standard of proof unambiguously put Australia in breach of the UN Covenant.

Full article at 'Corporate executives are entitled to human rights in competition law investigations' (2014) 21 CCLJ 264

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