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Lords inquiry to ask: does competition law work for online platforms?


Next week, Monday 26 October, a Lords Committee investigating online platforms will hear from legal experts specialising in competition law.

The Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee is examining the benefits and problems caused by the growing influence of online platforms such as Amazon, Google, Uber and Airbnb.

The Committee will ask experts in competition law about issues such as the dominance of online platforms, difficulties in applying competition policy to platforms, and how to tackle competition problems when they emerge.

Witnesses giving evidence on Monday are David Evans, Lecturer in Law, Chicago Law School and Chairman of the Global Economics Group and Ariel Ezrachi, Slaughter and May Professor of Competition Law, Oxford University.

Questions which the witnesses are likely to face include:

  • What specific challenges do multisided online platforms pose for competition policy and how do these challenges differ from those posed by other types of business?
  • How dominant are the big platforms?
  • How could they abuse any market power they may have?
  • What is the balance between the benefits and the costs of online platforms for consumers and businesses?
  • Are online platforms transparent enough about how they use data to enable competition agencies to do their job?
  • Europe is analysing whether there are competition problems, but is uncertain about how to proceed – why?

The evidence session will take place from 4.15pm, on Monday 26 October in Committee Room 2 of the House of Lords.

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