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Restrictive trade practices

At one time these were the province of the common law, but under the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1956 and Resale Prices Act 1964 a great number of trading agreements must now be registered with the Registrar of Restrictive Trading Agreements. These are those between two or more persons carrying on business in the United Kingdom, concerning goods, prices, conditions of sale or supply, the way in which the goods are to be manufactured, restrictions on quantities to be sold, processed or manufactured, or restrictions as to areas where goods are to be sold or supplied. The 1956 Act does not apply to agreements dealing with exports. Particulars to be registered are names of persons or parties involved and details of the agreement. It is irrelevant whether or not the agreement is in writing. Any person may apply to the Restrictive Practices Court to investigate these agreements. Where the agreement is considered to be against the public interest the court may prohibit it or order it to be rectified. The court may also, when prohibiting an agreement, prevent further agreements being substituted for the prohibited one. The 1964 Act also provides for the enforcement of certain agreements that are in the public interest. Very often what are known as sole distributor agreements are allowed. The matter is somewhat complicated and the Act very detailed.

Reference: The Penguin Business Dictionary, 3rd edt.