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See version in english Leniency policies in anti-cartel enforcement: Critical review is well overdue

EDITORIAL : LUTTE CONTRE LES ENTENTES – CLEMENCE – INSTRUMENTS – EFFETS

Leniency policies in anti-cartel enforcement : Critical review is well overdue

La politique de la clémence a révolutionné la lutte contre les cartels à travers le monde. Cependant, au-delà d’une révolution, l’approche liée à cette technique porte la marque d’une religion. Au vu de l’expérience, appuyée tant par la recherche que la pratique, la prudence est de mise lorsqu’il s’agit de prévoir la stabilité et l’effectivité des instruments de clémence. Le moment est venu, par ailleurs, d’analyser les effets potentiellement contreproductifs de la clémence sur d’autres aspects de l’application du droit des pratiques anticoncurrentielles, notamment le private enforcement, les transactions, la pénalisation et la conformité.

The challenges associated with anti-cartel law enforcement have prompted the widespread adoption by competition authorities of a distinctive tool — the leniency policy (also referred to as an immunity policy or an amnesty policy). Providing the first eligible cartel member with full exemption from penalties and public proceedings, this is a tool employed only in respect of cartel conduct and generally not in relation to any other type of anti-competitive activity. It also appears to be unique to competition law enforcement. Equivalent weapons in the armoury of other law enforcement agencies are difficult to identify. Based on the game theoretic model known in economic theory as the ‘prisoner’s dilemma’, the use of a leniency policy in anti-cartel law enforcement is justified by

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Caron Beaton-Wells, Leniency policies in anti-cartel enforcement: Critical review is well overdue, September 2015, Concurrences Review N° 3-2015, Art. N° 74085, www.concurrences.com

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