Hot topics for the Groceries Code Adjudicator

The Groceries Code Adjudicator was formally established on 25 June 2013 with power, among other things, to investigate whether a ‘designated retailer’ has breached the Groceries Supply Code of Conduct and to take enforcement action by making recommendations, requiring information to be published or imposing financial penalties.

The adjudicator may carry out an investigation if she has reasonable grounds to suspect a breach of the code or a failure to follow a recommendation made, following a previous investigation. ‘Reasonable grounds for suspicion’ may be based on evidence provided by suppliers, other retailers or trade associations or simply information already in the public domain. The adjudicator’s investigatory powers include the right to demand delivery of information.

A year into the job and the adjudicator is still waiting to have conferred the power to impose fines. However, we are starting to see indications of the sorts of issue that suppliers will be bringing to the adjudicator and, moreover, an apparent readiness on the part of the suppliers to do so…

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