Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)


Department: Law


Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2020/21 Module Cap


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide an in-depth understanding of the foundations of competition law.
  • To analyse key concepts of competition law, economics and policy.
  • To reflect on the evolution of competition law from leading cases to most recent developments in the field, with a focus on UK and EU competition law and/or US antitrust law.


  • Legal, economic, social and policy objectives of competition law.
  • Competition institutions (overview of competition authorities and the courts and a general overview of anti-competitive practices).
  • Competition as a game (defining markets, models of competition, game theory).
  • The first pillar will focus on restraints on competition, in particular on the law and economics of anti-competitive agreements, e.g. horizontal and vertical agreements, the prohibition and exemptions. The first pillar will focus on the public enforcement against cartels, their detection, prosecution and judicial revieiw, and on a variety of vertical agreements, e.g. the resale price maintenance, selective or exclusive distribution agreements etc.
  • The second pillar will focus on the prohibition of abuse of dominance and anticompetitive practices, including high profile cases e.g. Microsoft, Google, Intel, AstraZeneca etc., as well as on recent developments in key sectors of the economy, e.g. high technology markets. 
  • The third pillar will focus on the law and economics of merger control including horizontal, vertical, and conglomerate mergers and selected merger cases. 
  • Recent developments in the area of competition law included competition and intellectual or industrial property in the pharmaceutical sector, state aid in the financial markets (too-big-to-fail), big data and high technology markets, including data-driven mergers, antitrust damages, consumer approaches to competition law, redistribution and tax competition etc.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students should be able to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of competition law, economics and policy.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students should be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of competition law, economics and policy.
Key Skills:
  • Students should be able to gain analytical and writing skills as well as the ability to work independently.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The seminars will be used as a forum for discussion and to enhance students capability to analyse and critically evaluate legal scholarship and recent developments in the field of competition law.
  • One formative and one summative essay.
  • The summative essay tests the ability to focus on the proposed topic and the key issues covered in seminars, to organise content knowledge and to develop logical argumentation based on further independent reading.
  • Feedback on formative and summative assessment to be provided in accordance with Law School feedback policies

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 15 Weekly 2 hours each 30
Preparation and Reading 270
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Essay Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay 6000 100% 6000 word, one essay, different title

Formative Assessment:

One formative essay 2,000 words maximum

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University