Competition Commission
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CC publishes rules for airport licence appeals and NHS tariff references

The Competition Commission (CC) has published two sets of procedural rules on how it will deal with appeals and references under new regulatory regimes for airport licences and the national tariff for NHS healthcare services.

The procedural rules for airport appeals (CC19) and NHS tariffs (CC21) are published here, along with guidance to assist the parties involved—CC20 (airports) and CC22 (NHS tariffs).

The Civil Aviation Act 2012 brought in a new system of economic regulation for airports, under which operators of ‘dominant areas’ located at ‘dominant airports’ will require a licence to levy charges for airport operation services. A licence may include such conditions as the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) considers necessary in relation to risks of abuse of market power, including price control conditions. The CAA’s final decision on its market power assessments for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted and on its licence condition proposals was published last month.

Appeals against licence condition decisions by the CAA can be made to the CC by the holder of the relevant licence or by airlines whose interests are materially affected by the decision. This appeal mechanism replaces the CC’s previous role in quinquennial reviews under the Airports Act 1986 (where designated airports were subject to mandatory five-year price caps which the CC automatically reviewed).

CC19 contains rules of procedure for consideration of applications to the CC for permission to appeal, and the conduct of an appeal if permission is granted.

Monitor (the sector regulator for healthcare services in England) and NHS England have assumed responsibility for determining pricing for NHS healthcare services from 2014/15. Before publishing the national tariff, Monitor must consult on the method(s) it proposes to use for determining the national prices of specified NHS healthcare services.

If a sufficient number of the clinical commissioning groups or relevant providers object to Monitor’s proposed method, Monitor is not permitted to publish the national tariff. Instead Monitor must either reconsider the method and reconsult on revised proposals or refer the proposed method to the CC for redetermination.

CC21 sets out the CC’s rules of procedure for determining cases where Monitor does make a reference to the CC. The rules cover issues such as the timetable, approach to receiving submissions and costs.

For each set of rules, the CC consulted on draft versions in October and November respectively. Substantive comments were received only on the airport licence appeal rules. A summary of these responses, together with the CC’s response to them, is published here.

Notes to editors

1. The CC is an independent public body which carries out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries.

2. On 1 April 2014 the functions of the CC, along with many of the functions of the Office of Fair Trading, will be transferred to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and these bodies abolished. The CMA Transition team is proposing to put the finalized rules and any accompanying guidance to the CMA Board for adoption by the CMA. Those adopted guidance documents will, however, be kept under review once the CMA is in operation, in the light of its developing practice and case experience.

3. Enquiries should be directed to Rory Taylor or Siobhan Allen on 020 7271 0242.

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