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This article has been written by Neha Mallik, studying at Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies, affiliated with Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University. This article gives insight to the students who wish to pursue LLM in competition law.

Introduction

Pursuing LLM abroad is in vogue nowadays. Almost every law student, at some point in time, has desired to go abroad for an LLM Degree. A number of students today wish to pursue their studies abroad to get fame and fortune and to strengthen their career prospects. It is no secret that the undergraduate law courses in foreign Universities and colleges are expensive and cost a fortune to an Indian student. Studying LLM abroad is the preferred gateway to education abroad. 

Once you make your mind to do LLM, the foremost question that strikes in mind is that in which specific field of law you want to gain specialized knowledge. There are various programs offered by top universities and colleges across the world. The student must have a clear understanding of which area of law they are looking forward to learning and what would be the career prospects they will get post completion of the program. Pursuing LLM in Criminal laws, international laws, corporate laws, arbitration are some of the popular choices taken by many students. However, an LLM in competition law has attracted many students over the past few years due to rapid changes in the market situation. 

The invasion of technology and globalization is taking businesses to a next level. Modern businesses that are politically, culturally, and legally diverse, operate with integration with the world economy. The world market has been becoming more complicated with the passing days and the trade with countries around the world is at the forefront of many business minds making the competition laws imperative to maintain market competition. 

Competition law is a very exciting field of law as it works at the conflux of law and economics. Competition law intends to prevent anti-competitive behavior in the market and promotes a fair market that is good for the consumers as well as producers.

Development in Competition Laws across the world

In the USA

The modern competition law has its root in the legislation of the United states where the Sherman Act was in practice in the year 1890. The Act was enacted and formulated due to the raising concerns in regards to the trusts among the companies regulating in the American market. There were three different legislatures namely Sherman Act in 1890, The Clayton Act in 1914, and The Federal Trade Commission Act in 1914.  The first Anti-trust law i.e. The Sherman Act 1890 is considered to be the most important one. However, due to some shortcomings, there was a need to implement the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act in 1914. This was set up to regulate all the unfair business practices with a different and liberal approach. 

Unlike the Indian framework that consists of a single authoritative agency, the USA enforcement comprises multiple agencies. The responsibility is divided into the Antitrust division of the US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commision. The authorities have the power to go with the investigation and to curb all the deceptive trade practices, encouraging healthy and fair competition in the market.

In UK

The competition law in the UK originated from the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union that covers a wide range of subjects in regard to competition. However, the treaty was applicable only to the European Member states. The legislation ended up being infective and non-comprehensive. This apart the treaty did not specify any enforcement body. The competition laws in the United Kingdom have faced a lot of changes and currently, there are two different statutes namely the Competition Act of 1998 and The Enterprise of 2002 are in force providing the UK an efficient and comprehensive legal system. 

In India 

Around 40 years from now MRTP Act was formulated in order to prevent the concentration of power and to prohibit monopolistic, unfair, and restrictive trade practices. Due to the new economic policy in 1991, the business environment had gone through rapid changes and from then there is a constant evolution in competition law. The MRTP Act was amended from time to time to fulfill the need of a dynamic environment. But it was observed that the MRTP framework is not adequately accommodating the demand of the changing world. Many MNC set up in India that led to the increased competition on the global front. It was time that we needed to shift the focus from curbing the monopolies to promoting fair competition. The government appointed the Raghvan Committee on Competition Policy and law headed by Mr. SV Raghvan, that recommended the new Competition Bill based on the need of the hour. The Competition Act 2002 was enacted to open up the economy and shift the focus from removing control and encourage a free and fair market. 

What is the role that a specialized lawyer in Competition Law plays?

A competition lawyer has many responsibilities and carries out different roles in their career:

  • The most common yet important role of a competition lawyer is to negotiate clarence for mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures. 
  • They advise on the agreements to the big companies to withstand fair competition in the world market.
  • The competition lawyers also deal with investigations of client’s conducts
  • Big companies need a specialized competition lawyer to advise them on cross-border trade.
  • Last but not the least, the Competition lawyers also handle the matters before the competition tribunal

Prospective job opportunities for students who do an LLM in Competition Law

Law firms

Not only in India but top law firms around the world have a specialized and dedicated competition law team, handling the issues related to the working of the business. The integration of the domestic economy with the world’s economy has increased the scope of competition and the fortune companies approach top law firms to handle their mergers & Acquisitions. AZB, Trilegal, CAM, SAM, to name a few are some highly experienced and robust team of competition law. 

An LLM degree in competition law from a renowned University can help you reach the top law firms and will be considered as a feather to your cap. You can expect a handsome salary if you make it to tier 1 law firms even if you are a fresher. 

Government Bodies

Competition Commission of India is the statutory body that regulates the laws pertaining to the competition. The regulatory authority has regular vacancies for people having different experiences. One can apply directly from their official website. 

Individual Practitioners

One can become an individual practitioner and handle the high-end tasks involving mergers and acquisition of their clients. Companies hire lawyers to handle their compliance work, allegations related to abuse of powers and making cartels, framing policies and agreements, etc. 

The student who has pursued LLM in competition law can make a great start by practicing in the field of competition law. The competition law is evolving in India providing scope for everyone to gain insight into the litigation part. 

Think tanks

India has borrowed competition jurisprudence from countries like the USA, Europe, etc, and this is why it is still new and many people and businesses are not aware of its application. The competition law is evolving and facing various amendments and changes. Due to continuous changes and amendments, the think tanks need policy researchers to have extensive research on the changing laws in the competitive market. 

Top 5 Universities offering an LLM degree in Competition Law

Harvard Law School

Admission to the LLM program in Harvard University is highly competitive. It offers the most competitive courses to students across the world. The program is designed for intellectual curios and bright minds who are interested in pursuing a career in teaching, research, government practice, international organizations, and many more. 

King’s College (Haven of LLM in Competition Law)

The King’s College in London is known for offering excellence. The course curriculum is designed to meet the ambition and career development of an individual. The LLM program here is respected and desirable for many lawyers.

Oxford, in the UK

The University of Oxford provides a specialized platform for learning competition law and policy. The program is tailored focusing on the regulation of competition worldwide and the international aspects of competition law with respect to antitrust economics. 

Brussels School of Competition in Belgium

Established in the year 2010, Brussels School of Competition is a renowned institution. The program is tailored in a way meeting the expectation within the community of Belgian and European competition offering information in a comprehensive and exhaustive way. 

Conclusion

The motive of competition law is to bring a good marketplace that is viable for both the customers and producers.  The world is constantly changing, raising the need for lawyers and people who understand the intricacies of competition law. As per the current market trend, doing higher studies in competition law can build the career for many budding lawyers. The area is financially promising and uplifts the growth opportunity of individuals. If you wish to pursue LLM in competition law, you must consider foreign Universities and colleges as currently, India has no specialized LLM program. One can go for reputed online courses to gain knowledge and specialization.   

References


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