Setting the scope of the investigation

Setting the scope of the investigation at the outset is crucial for a number of reasons, including controlling the costs of the investigation (including the costs of external advisers) and avoiding ‘mission creep’.

Once the scope of the investigation has been set, appropriate corporate authorisation should be obtained from senior management (eg the chief operating officer). The success of the investigation will depend to a large degree on the cooperation of those being investigated and the endorsement of senior management will be crucial in order to secure this cooperation.

The scope of the investigation may need to change, possibly rapidly, if facts come to light that suggest there has been an infringement of competition law in a new area to the one(s) already being investigated (for example in relation to a different product, or if it seems the anti-competitive behaviour had a wider geographic scope than originally anticipated).

The investigation team should raise new issues or lines of enquiry that arise during the course of the investigation with the team leader so that urgent consideration can be given to whether these issues require further or separate investigation.

The scope of the investigation should be carefully considered in each case and defined sufficiently widely to ensure that the conclusions will withstand any subsequent challenge by (for example) an external regulator.