Glossary of competition terms

This Glossary is based on definitions from DG COMP’s Glossary of terms used in EU competition policy (© European Union, 2002) and the OECD’s Glossary of industrial organisation economics and competition law (© OECD, 1993). Each term is enriched with references of national case laws from the e-Competitions Bulletin and Concurrences Review.

Effective judicial protection

Regarding effective judicial protection, the General Court stated in Cases T‑56/09 and T‑73/09 Saint-Gobain Glass France SA and Others v. European Commission in 27 March 2014 :

"Judicial review by the General Court of decisions whereby the Commission imposes infringements in the event of infringement of EU competition law satisfies the requirement of effective judicial review for the purposes of Article 6 of the ECHR and Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

First of all, that EU law confers on the Commission a supervisory role which includes the task of investigating infringements of 101 TEU (ex Article 81(1) EC) and Article 102 TEU (ex Article 82 EC), while the Commission is required, in the context of that administrative procedure, to observe the procedural guarantees provided for by EU law. Furthermore, Regulation No 1/2003 empowers the Commission to impose, by decision, fines on undertakings and associations of undertakings which have infringed those provisions either intentionally or negligently.

In addition, the requirement for effective judicial review of any Commission decision that finds and punishes an infringement of the competition rules is a general principle of EU law which follows from the common constitutional traditions of the Member States. That principle is now enshrined in Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

The judicial review of the decisions adopted by the Commission in order to penalise infringements of competition law that is provided for in the Treaties and supplemented by Regulation No 1/2003 is consistent with that principle. In the first place, the General Court is an independent and impartial court, which was established in order particularly to improve the judicial protection of individual interests in respect of actions requiring close examination of complex facts.

In the second place, the review of legality, in the context of actions based on Article 263 TEU (ex-Article 230 EC), of a Commission decision finding an infringement of the competition rules and imposing a fine in that respect on the natural or legal person concerned must be regarded as effective judicial review of the measure in question. The pleas on which the natural or legal person concerned may rely in support of his application for annulment are of such a nature as to allow the General Court to assess the correctness in law and in fact of any accusation made by the Commission in competition proceedings.

In the third place, in accordance with Article 31 of Regulation No 1/2003, the review of legality provided for in Article 263 TEU (ex-Article 230 EC) is supplemented by unlimited jurisdiction to review decisions, which enables the Courts, in addition to reviewing the legality of the penalty, to substitute their assessment for the Commission’s and, consequently, to cancel, reduce or increase the fine or periodic penalty payment imposed."

© General Court

Glossary