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LAW8586 : Digital Markets and Competition Law

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Oles Andriychuk
  • Owning School: Newcastle Law School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


Digitisation of the global economy is an obvious and rapidly expanding trend. Big Tech companies, which did not even exist 15-20 years ago, are now the biggest in the world. Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Facebook — all of them have changed our consumer behaviour and our way of life in general. All these companies are being placed under very tough scrutiny of competition law. The specificity of business models and business behaviours of Big Tech companies, their relationship with advertisers/customers and end-users/consumers necessitated a development of an autonomous branch of competition law, dealing exclusively with various peculiarities of Internet-based commercial activities. Traditional economic models, doctrinal assumptions and theoretical constructions applied in ‘classical/offline’ branch of competition law, are often not suitable and sometime even misleading and counterproductive in the realm of the digital economy. For example, because most of the services are delivered by Big Tech for ‘free’, the principles of price theory — the methodology most conventionally used in the traditional competition law — cannot be applied. Equally, this implies a number of far-reaching consequences for the theories of harm, goals of competition policy, ways of considering and calculating privacy/digital footprints/big data/consumer attention as an alternative way of paying for ‘free’ services. Also, this area is being under immense regulatory scrutiny by competition agencies in Europe and the UK. Unprecedented investigatory activity of the major competition enforcers in the area of the digital economy and enormous amounts of fines imposed on the infringers over the last 7-10 years also contribute to shaping this area into an autonomous discipline. The subject ‘Competition Law and the Digital Economy’ (in its variations) is already an established module in all leading UK and US universities, and the trend for its implementation into the curriculum of other universities is obvious and rapid too. Every year brings several landmark cases in this field with billions of pounds of fines. Both, the infringers and the enforcers permanently require skilful lawyers who are simultaneously experts in competition law and in the digital economy. The module will offer students an excellent opportunity to focus on deep learning of the most important and the most topical aspects of this highly important area of law.

Outline Of Syllabus

1.       Digital Competition Law: Towards Autonomous Sub-Discipline
2.       Main Cases under Ex-Post Competition Law I
3.       Main Cases under Ex-Post Competition Law II
4.       EU Digital Markets Act (Procedural Provisions)
5.       EU Digital Markets Act (Substantive Provisions)
6.       UK Digital Markets Unit (Procedural Provisions)
7.       UK Digital Markets Unit (Substantive Provisions)
8.       Regulation of Digital Advertising
9.       Regulation of Mobile Ecosystems
10.       Comparative Analysis of the Development in Other Jurisdictions

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading120:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching102:0020:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities42:008:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study198:0098:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The main mode of teaching will be in the form of teaching sessions, holding elements of interactive lecture, teacher-directed exchange, and student-led discussions. These will be facilitated by the structured research and reading activities, where in advance of each case study session, students will be expected to read and take notes on one of the pieces provided on that particular technology and its legal challenges, reflect on the main arguments of that piece, and then search legal databases or other available resources for academic articles providing contrasting opinions or other perspectives to the assigned paper. Students will be expected to use this structured research activity to present a position in the workshop, allowing for a dedicated student-led approach to the classes. In addition to these formal classes, there will be a number of drop-in/surgery hours, where students can ask questions regarding course content, specific readings, or to prepare for the assessment for the module. Directed research and reading will be prepared for each session, which allows students to develop greater insight into the areas of technology governance discussed in each workshop, with an additional reading list provided on Canvas as further readings or a library list, which can then be used by students drafting their research proposal during their assessment preparation and completion.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M1004000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assignment, taking the form of a traditional essay, aims to advance critical and analytical skills of the PGT students, their ability to work with the secondary sources, understanding and engagement with the relevant literature, constituting the intellectual foundations of Competition Law & the Digital Economy. This area is subject to significant changes and revision. Thematically, students will be offered several topics of choice asking to engage in the discussion on some of the theoretical or applied aspects of legal rules underpinning the functioning of competition in digital markets.

Reading Lists