The purpose of the Public Enterprises (Market Activities) Act is to create competitive conditions between public authorities and private companies that are as equal as possible while taking the specific public function of the public authority into account. What are the consequences of the Public Enterprises (Market Activities) Act for public authorities and companies that operate partly in the private domain and partly in the public domain? Which government activities have an economic character? How can unfair competition be prevented? These are all topical questions on which Pels Rijcken provides advice to both public authorities and the corporate world.
The Public Enterprises (Market Activities) Act makes provision for four rules of conduct which public authorities must observe when they themselves or public companies engage in economic activities. These rules of conduct mean in short that the public authority:
- must charge the total costs of products to customers;
- may not favour a public company above other companies;
- may not reuse records that it has at its disposal for other activities; and
- must ensure the segregation of duties: the same persons may not be involved in the administrative as well as the economic activities of an organisation that engages in both activities.
Cooperation is the key word in our approach. This starts with really listening to the client. We also make a point of finding the right form of advice: a PowerPoint presentation for the board of directors, a quick scan for the project leader or a more in-depth recommendation for the company lawyer. We always provide a customised service. Providing advice is more than just explaining the law. We make predictions about how organisations will apply a certain rule in practice. This enables us to make a practical and realistic risk assessment. Where necessary, Pels Rijcken litigates in connection with the (consequences of the) Public Enterprises (Market Activities) Act.