The law and cartels

27 November 2012

Professor Chris Harding and Dr Jennifer Edwards.
Professor Chris Harding and Dr Jennifer Edwards.

Aberystwyth University’s Department of Law and Criminology has been awarded a £87,743 Leverhulme Research Project Grant to study the deterrent effect of legal measures taken against business cartels.

The two year study, Explaining and Understanding Business Cartel Collusion, will be undertaken by Professor Christopher Harding and Dr Jennifer Edwards.

The study’s main objective will be to produce and analyse a number of 'cartel biographies' which will draw upon the experience of dealing with some major international cartels in a number of jurisdictions over the past 30 years.

Professor Christopher Harding, who is leading the research, says, “The activities of such cartels – price fixing, market sharing and the like – are considered to have a very detrimental effect on markets and consumers, but legal control is difficult and costly. There is therefore a strong public interest in effective enforcement.”

“Research into the actual prosecution of international cartels and assessment of legal sanctions applied to companies and individuals in those cases will offer reliable data from which convincing conclusions may be drawn regarding the relative impact of different approaches to the legal control of cartels over time.” 

Dr Jennifer Edwards, who joined the project at the start of October, adds, “Within the last 20 years the legal control of business cartels has mushroomed globally as a significant regulatory activity. But more account needs to be taken of both business culture and also legal and enforcement cultures to understand how regulation works.”

Professor Christopher Harding is the author of a number of books and papers dealing with the regulation of business cartels and in particular the criminality of such business collusion.

Dr Jennifer Edwards is a postdoctoral researcher, with a background in researching and teaching criminal law and has recently carried out commissioned research on the implementation of EU criminal law directives.

The Leverhulme Trust

The Leverhulme Trust was established in 1925 under the Will of the first Viscount Leverhulme. It is one of the largest all-subject providers of research funding in the UK, distributing funds of some £60 million every year. For further information about the schemes that the Leverhulme Trust fund visit their website at,


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Professor Chris Harding
Department of Law and Criminology
01970 622734