CONFERENCES: EU DAMAGES DIRECTIVE - IMPLEMENTATION - LIMITATION PERIODS

Limitation periods (Implementation of the EU Damages Directive into Member State law - Würzburg, May 5, 2017)

Limitation periods could imperil the enforcement of competition damage claims and in the footsteps of the Manfredi case of the ECJ artt. 10, 11 and 18 of the Damages Directive therefore give complex rules on this issue. France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have adapted their relevant legislations. The five years minimum limitation period is extended in Germany (five years plus rest of the year) and England (six years) and in some Member States there is discussion or case law on when in practice the period really starts to run, especially with a view to the question of publication of decisions of competition authorities. Absolute limitation periods, which are mentioned in Recital 36, is provided for in a number of Member States. Member State choices for suspension or interruption diverge. Sometimes, there are specific rules for limitation periods for claims for contribution against co-infringers. One may wonder whether some of these divergencies may lead to law and forumshopping.

I. Introduction Oliver Remien Professor, University of Würzburg 1. Limitation periods—or prescription—are a classic issue of private law, but may sometimes have been regarded as a quite dull subject, [1] as a kind of Cinderella of the law. On closer inspection, it appears that such a view would be mistaken and would produce a false impression. In the law of limitation periods, diametrically opposed interests of the parties involved must be taken account of and weighted. On the one hand, there is, in the words of the great pandectist Bernhard Windscheid taken up to the Motive (the travaux préparatoires or legislative materials) to the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, BGB), the “obfuscating power of time” (verdunkelnde Macht der Zeit). [2] If a long period of time has passed, it

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Catherine Prieto, Florian Wagner-von Papp, Frank Kroes, Oliver Remien, Marcella Negri, Limitation periods (Implementation of the EU Damages Directive into Member State law - Würzburg, May 5, 2017), September 2017, Concurrences Review N° 3-2017, Art. N° 84677, www.concurrences.com

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