2010 Baxt Lecture

The Inaugural Baxt Lecture in Competition Law, University of Melbourne, Friday 13 August 2011.

Professor William Kovacic

'Competition Authorities for the 21st Century'

Professor William Kovacic, George Washington University, United States and Senior Fellow, Melbourne Law Masters  

Abstract: In a changing political and economic climate, agencies charged with enforcing competition laws face a range of significant challenges in the 21st century.  In the past century major challenges lay in educating and persuading a range of constituencies of the value of competition regulation and in developing the institutional expertise and skills to regulate effectively. In many jurisdictions (Australia among them) those tasks have largely been completed and the competition authority enjoys significant political support and, not unrelatedly, has developed into a highly professional outfit with expertise to match the private sector.  In coming years, there will be new challenges.  Among them will be the expectation that agencies anticipate and be responsive to changes in the nature of competition, and anti-competitive conduct, in a global economic environment. There is also increasing pressure that such agencies take a critical introspective approach to evaluating their performance and that they be accountable in such a way as continues to justify the substantial public resources that they command.

William Kovacic is recognised as one of the world's leading authorities in competition (antitrust) law, and has acted both as a regulator and as an academic. He is currently Global Competition Professor of Law and Policy and Director of the Competition Law Center at George Washington University, Washington. He served as a member of the United States Federal Trade Commission from January 2006 to October 2011 and was Chairman from March 2008 until March 2009. Since January 2009, he has served as the Vice Chair for Outreach of the International Competition Network. Since 1992, he has served as an adviser on antitrust and consumer protection issues to the governments of Armenia, Benin, Egypt, El Salvador, Georgia, Guyana, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Panama, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe. He has published numerous books and articles on competition policy, law and enforcement, and in recent years has developed a particular specialty in the field of competition law institutions.

Co-sponsored by the Melbourne Law School and the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, University of Melbourne