The Guernsey Competition and Regulatory Authority Ordinance,
2012 saw the creation of a semi-autonomous regulatory body to be
called the Guernsey Competition and Regulatory Authority (the
"SGCRA"), which will assume the functions of the old
Guernsey Office of Utility Regulation (OUR), together with
administering Guernsey's competition laws when they come into
effect later this year.
The new ordinance and the agency created by it came into effect
on 1 June 2012. Much like the Guernsey Financial Services
Commission, the GCRA will not be a department or agent of the
States of Guernsey, though it may be guided by them on matters of
policy. Significantly, the creation of the GCRA is the next step in
the integration of the Channel Islands" regulatory authorities
under the Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authority
("SCICRA") banner. Jersey has had a competition law in
place for sometime; the effective merging of the regulators had
served to highlight a fairly glaring omission from the Guernsey
The functions of the GCRA are (in summary):
1. to advise the States Commerce and Employment Department
generally in relation to the administration and enforcement of the
2. the practice and procedures related to the Competition
3. to investigate potentially anti-competitive practices;
4. to oversee (as appropriate) over Guernsey-based mergers and
In respect of carrying out its primary functions, the GCRA will
have the full complement of powers as may be expected, including a
broadly framed power to require the production of documents,
accounts and other information the GCRA considers relevant in
support of its investigatory powers. Two questions immediately
present themselves in relation to the role of the panisland
First, once Guernsey's competition law is in place, how will
the market be defined? Is there really one market spanning both
islands for all goods and services, or are there some things where
trade is purely local? These types of decisions may end up having a
significant impact upon how and from whom we buy things.
Second, the perennial question of who regulates the regulator?,
just got more complicated. A pan-island regulator, with
responsibility for matters stretching beyond the shores of a single
island (particularly where there is a pan-island market definition)
must look to the interests of both islands. What happens when those
interests conflict, and how the regulator deals with two sets of
politicians giving directions is anyone's guess.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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