chapter  VII
The Restrictive Practices Court
Pages 13

By 1955 the time had come for another stage in the evolution of monopoly policy. It was then confidently expected that the Govern­ ment, while retaining the existing procedure for enquiry and report, would introduce legislation to prohibit certain practices adversely reported on and would possibly lay down criteria to guide the Commission in its future judgments of the public interest. In fact, the policy took a different direction. Although by this time most businessmen were agreed, in general principle, that where monopoly existed the State could not remain indifferent to its potential dangers, they were strongly critical of the procedure introduced by the Act of 1948. This criticism arose in part out of the piecemeal approach which that legislation prescribed. The selection of an industry for investigation was, of necessity, rather arbitrary, and this itself produced resentment among the firms under scrutiny. The resentment was caused not only because of the trouble and expense involved but also because an industry brought before the Commission felt itself to be on trial. There were, of course, no logical grounds for such an attitude. There was no enactment that condemned monopoly or restrictive practices as such. The Commission was charged simply with discovering the economic effects of an industry’s practices and, in the light of the evidence, with indicating what action should be taken to remedy any ill effects. Until the Government had accepted the recommendations there was no question of attaching blame to an industry.