What lasts…or doesn’t? – Competition Register Regulation entered into force on April 23, 2021

The introduction of a nationwide competition register has long been announced. Now there is movement on the issue. Soon there will be a threat of uniform registration throughout Germany for criminal and administrative offenses in the area of competition law. 

Necessary regulation effective April 23, 2021.

The Competition Register Act (WRegG) – the legal basis for the planned federal register – came into force back in 2017. After that, nothing happened for a while. The announcement by the authorities of implementation by the end of 2020 could not be kept either. 

This led to uncertainty in the company’s defense – is it better to refrain from taking legal action in order to avoid registration? Or will registration be retroactive anyway? On April 23, 2021, the Competition Register Ordinance (WRegV), which is necessary for the final implementation, came into force. 

In the future, the nationwide competition register will be maintained by the Federal Cartel Office, and there will be close cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Economics (current information is available at https://www.bundeskartellamt.de/DE/Wettbewerbsregister/WettbewReg_node.html and https://www.bmwi.de/Redaktion/DE/Artikel/Wirtschaft/wettbewerbsregister.html). 

But implementation is not yet complete and many questions remain unanswered.

Does it now go directly?

No, the planned notification and query obligations do not yet exist. Relevant decisions will not be reported to the register by the authorities until one month after the obligations have been announced in the Federal Gazette. It will then also be possible for the contracting authorities to query the register.

Until then, the following continues to apply: It simply depends on the federal state in which the legal entity is located and/or the offense was committed. While Berlin keeps a corruption register, this looks quite different in Brandenburg – the question of registration is in individual cases one of a few kilometers. 

Transition period and continuation of country registers unresolved.

It is also unclear what will apply during the transition period and whether the state registers will be transferred to the federal register. When asked, the authorities do not have a clear answer either.

So it remains exciting. We at H2W Strafrecht will keep you up to date. You can find more information about our advice on criminal law relating to corruption and competition here and here.