Dr. Stephen Law appointed to the Competition Tribunal
6/10/2019 10:03:07 AMEconomics professor Dr. Stephen Law was appointed to the Competition Tribunal in April. The Tribunal is an independent body, like a Court of Law, that adjudicates complex cases in such areas as backroom agreements between competitors, non-compliance with prevailing regulations, misleading marketing practices, price-fixing, and regulations that adversely affect economic activity in Canada.
His research and teaching have made him an expert in the area of industrial organization, which is the field of economics that examines and seeks to understand the behavior of firms, the effects of regulatory and antitrust policy, and the nature of market competition.
The work of the Tribunal is central to ensuring that Canadian firms operate in a competitive environment, which, in turn, is vital to the maintenance of a vibrant and innovative economy.
As well, the cases the Tribunal hears are often of national importance. They can be financially significant and may also directly influence the competitiveness of an industry or business area. It is composed of a judge, who is the chair, lay members with specialized expertise in economics and business, and members with expertise in law. The appointment is for a seven-year term.
Law has been teaching courses in topics related to law and economics since he became a professor in 1994. His study of industrial organization began with his PhD at the University of Toronto where he specialized in regulatory economics and the theory and practice of competition policy. Since then, he has made several contributions to scholarly literature in the field.
“The first chapter of my dissertation was a study of an example of the interrelationship between competition policy and intellectual property rights, a very specific interaction dealing with hybrid licensing. I spent a lot of time in the Law Library of the University of Toronto looking up cases.”
Law says when he was a graduate student he studied with many of the professors who have since appeared as expert witnesses before the Tribunal. He has also taught several economics students who have gone on to be investigative officers at the Competition Bureau.
Law finds the area fascinating.
Concerning one past judgement he says, “I read it because the judgement is a work of brilliance. On the one hand there was clearly a problem; on the other the law was not structured so that the companies could be convicted. They didn’t break the law, but they were doing something clearly wrong. The Tribunal couldn’t find them guilty… but they could not find them not guilty either. So, the Competition Tribunal called for the legislature to take some action in response.”
Law is looking forward to learning more about new cases that come before the Competition Tribunal and is honoured to be called upon to contribute to the development of Canadian economic policy through the work of the Tribunal.