Sunset clauses act as a time limit on measures introduced by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) by specifying a date or event after which they will no longer apply.
Although the current published guidance on market investigations makes reference to sunset clauses, the CMA is now consulting on a clearer commitment to considering the use of such time-limited remedies in future investigations, as well as providing guidance on how it will approach that consideration.
This is part of a wider programme by the CMA to ensure that remedies are not kept in place longer than is necessary to achieve their purpose. This both reduces administrative burdens on businesses and enables the CMA to focus its monitoring and enforcement efforts on those remedies that are still needed.
In March, the CMA began a review of 76 ‘structural’ merger undertakings given by companies before 1 January 2005 to see if any of these can be removed or, if still required, varied.