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Lord Haskel: I could point to Clause 18 which prohibits the use of a dominant market position, but not the holding of a dominant market position itself. There is nothing wrong in companies holding a dominant position. It is only natural for companies to try to increase their share of the market. That of course is what competition is all about.

Lord Lucas: But if a company wants to know whether it will be caught by the clause, it has to decide

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whether it is in a dominant market position. It may wish to seek guidance as to whether it is in a dominant market position. It would be especially difficult, for instance, to define what is the market and to be able to seek guidance as to whether it is looking at the market for vacuum cleaners or cleaning equipment as a whole. It is something that it would be reasonable to ask that the director give guidance on. So far as I can see in the Bill, he does not have the power to do it.

Lord Borrie: Perhaps I may intervene, just to say that I think that the noble Lord is asking for an academic question to be answered by an office which, even if it is resourced adequately, will have plenty of things to do. The prohibition applies only where the two conditions are satisfied: there is a dominant position and there is abuse. To enable people to ask whether one has a dominant position is to ask an academic question.

Lord Haskel: I thank my noble friend Lord Borrie for that. The director general is required under the Bill to issue guidelines as to how he intends to apply the prohibitions. Companies will be able to look to EC jurisprudence for guidance as to the principles which will be applied in assessing dominance. Some might put that as the ability to throw their weight around without worrying too much about the consequences, but business people usually have a fairly shrewd idea of the nature of their own markets and indeed the extent of their own market power. In view of that explanation, I would ask the noble Lord to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Lucas: I so do. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

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Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 20 agreed to.

Clause 21 [Notification for guidance]:

[Amendment No. 83 not moved.]

Clause 21 agreed to.

Clause 22 [Notification for a decision]:

[Amendments Nos. 84 to 87 not moved.]

Clause 22 agreed to.

Clause 23 [Effect of guidance]:

[Amendments Nos. 88 and 89 not moved.]

Clause 23 agreed to.

Clause 24 [Effect of a decision that the Chapter II prohibition is not infringed]:

[Amendment No. 90 not moved.]

Clause 24 agreed to.

Schedule 6 [Notification under Chapter II: Procedure]:

[Amendments Nos. 91 to 93 not moved.]

Schedule 6 agreed to.

House resumed.

Public Processions etc. (Northern Ireland) Bill [H.L.]

Reported from a Grand Committee with an amendment.

        House adjourned at twenty-five minutes before eleven o'clock.

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