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Approaching CCCS for Guidance or Decision

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  1. 1. Why is there no notification for prospective agreements?

    CCCS's position is that it will only examine agreements which have been concluded (notwithstanding that some may not have yet come into effect) as it will have to assess the agreement in its entirety and the surrounding circumstances in coming to a decision.

  2. 2. I am not sure if my business agreement infringes the Competition Act. How can I ensure that I am not running afoul of the law?

    CCCS has published a list of self-assessment criteria on its website to help you assess if your agreement infringes the Act. You can also refer to the CCCS Guidelines on the Section 34 Prohibition 2016 and the CCCS Guidelines on the Section 47 Prohibition 2016 for more information.
    If you are still in doubt, you may wish to seek independent legal advice.

    Alternatively, you may apply for a notification for guidance or decision to seek CCCS's view on whether the agreement is likely to infringe or infringes the Act. You will have to provide CCCS with the relevant information required for CCCS to properly assess your agreement. You will also be required to pay a fee according to the table below. The initial fee is always required, and the further fee may be charged depending on the complexity of the case. 

    Initial Fee

    Further Fee

    Notification for Guidance

    S$3,000

    S$20,000

    Notification for Decision

    S$5,000

    S$40,000

    If you apply for guidance or decision as to whether the same agreement, practice or conduct infringes either the section 34 prohibition or the section 47 prohibition, you may use a single form for the application.


    Please refer to the CCCS Guidelines on Filing Notifications for Guidance or Decision with respect to the Section 34 Prohibition and Section 47 Prohibition 2016 for more information.

  3. 3. What will I gain from notifying my agreement or conduct?

    CCCS will be able to give a written view as to whether your agreement or conduct is likely to infringe the Act (in the case of guidance) or whether it does infringe the Act (in the case of a decision).

    An undertaking which notifies an agreement is immune from financial penalties for infringements of the section 34 prohibition arising from that agreement during the period when CCCS is considering the matter. If CCCS finds an infringement, the undertaking will be given a short period to comply with the Act. This immunity from possible financial penalties does not apply to notifications in respect of conduct which may constitute an abuse of a dominant position.

    Needless to say, there are no financial penalties if agreements or conduct are found not to have infringed the Act, or if they are found to be excluded or exempted from the Act.

  4. 4. What is the difference between decision and guidance?

    In the case of guidance, CCCS may indicate whether the agreement or conduct is likely to infringe the section 34 and/or 47 prohibition and for agreements, whether they are exempted under a block exemption. In the case of decision, CCCS will indicate whether the agreement or conduct infringes the section 34 or 47 prohibition and if the law has not been infringed, whether this is because of an exclusion or exemption (for agreements).

    If CCCS gives favourable guidance or makes a favourable decision, there are only limited circumstances under which the matter can be reopened. There are fewer instances under which CCCS is allowed to take action after a favourable decision has been made, compared to favourable guidance. 

    In the case of guidance, once CCCS has issued a guidance that infringement is unlikely, it will take no further action unless:

    • it has reasonable grounds for believing that there has been a material change of circumstance since it gave its guidance; 
    • it has reasonable grounds for suspecting that the information on which it based its guidance was incomplete, false or misleading in a material particular; 
    • a complaint about the agreement or conduct has been made to CCCS (in the case of agreements, the complaint is to come from someone who is not a party to the agreement); or 
    • (in the case of agreements) one of the parties to the agreement applies to CCCS for a decision in respect of the agreement, under section 44 of the Act.

    In the case of decisions, once CCCS has issued a decision that there is no infringement, CCCS will take no further action in respect of the notified agreement or conduct, unless:

    • CCCS has reasonable grounds for believing that there has been a material change of circumstance since it gave its decision; or 
    • CCCS has reasonable grounds for suspecting that the information on which it based its decision was incomplete, false or misleading in a material particular.
    However, applications for decision are not afforded the same level of confidentiality as that which may be given to applications for guidance. In particular, once an application for decision is made, a summary of the application's details (provided by the applicant) will be entered into a public register. 

    Finally, the filing fee is higher for decisions than guidance (see below), reflecting the greater amount of effort required to determine the outcome.

    Initial Fee

    Further Fee

    Notification for Guidance

    S$3,000

    S$20,000

    Notification for Decision

    S$5,000

    S$40,000

  5. 5. How much does it cost to apply for a decision or guidance?

    The fees for decision and guidance are in the table below:

    Initial Fee

    Further Fee

    Notification for Guidance

    S$3,000

    S$20,000

    Notification for Decision

    S$5,000

    S$40,000

     

    If you apply for decision or guidance as to whether the same agreement, practice or conduct infringes either the section 34 prohibition or the section 47 prohibition, you may use a single form for the application.


    Applications for guidance or decision are made by submitting Form 1 to CCCS, together with the initial fee. Where requested by CCCS, the applicant must also submit Form 2. In cases where Form 2 is submitted, CCCS may, within 2 months of receiving Form 2, specify a time frame within which the applicant is to pay CCCS a further fee. This further fee will be levied in cases where CCCS is of the opinion that the case is a complex one requiring significant analysis. The applicant may choose not to pay the further fee, in which case CCCS may then determine the application by not giving guidance or a decision. 

    There will be no refund of the fees paid if the information required by CCCS is not received by the prescribed deadline, but CCCS will be amenable to reasonable requests for extensions of time.

  6. 6. How can I notify my agreement or conduct for guidance or decision?

    You will be required to submit Form 1 to CCCS, together with the prescribed fee. CCCS may also request for you to submit Form 2 if it is needed for determining the application. Applicants are free to submit Form 2 on their own accord, together with Form 1, as this will speed up the process in cases where it can be foreseen that Form 2 will eventually be required. 

    Applicants will be notified of whether they are required to pay the further fee within 2 months of CCCS's receipt of Form 2. If applicants do not pay the further fee, CCCS may determine the application by not giving guidance or a decision. 

    Applicants should refer to the guideline on notifications for guidance or decision as well as the Competition Regulations, where more details on how to fill out Form 1 or Form 2 are available. Three hard copies of the completed form(s) and accompanying documents, as well as a soft copy of the form(s) in Microsoft Word format (preferably saved into a CD-Rom) must be submitted to CCCS at the following address:

    Application for Guidance/Decision
    Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore
    45 Maxwell Road, #09-01
    The URA Centre
    Singapore 069118

    The applicant is required to take all reasonable steps to notify all other parties to the agreement or conduct about the application. This notification can be given before the notification is filed with CCCS, and must, at the very latest, be given within 7 working days from the date of filing of the notification.

  7. 7. Can I get a lawyer to file the application for guidance or decision on my behalf?

    Yes, a lawyer may file the application on your behalf, and many firms find it useful, and more efficient to employ a specialist. However, the application should include a letter of authorisation signed by you (the applicant). The declaration in Form 1 and Form 2 (where provided) must be signed by the applicant(s) and the joint representative where one has been appointed.

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Updated Date

Last Updated on 01 April 2018