The EU Court of Justice issues preliminary ruling holding that national courts need to balance on a case-by-case basis the interest of preserving the effectiveness of leniency programs and that of facilitating private enforcement by third parties (Pfleiderer)

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On 14 June 2011, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) handed down a key judgment regarding the interplay between national leniency programmes and the right of individuals to claim damages for losses in EU cartel cases. The ECJ held that documents submitted under the auspices of a national leniency programme will not be protected from third party access as a matter of EU law. According to the judgment, it is for the courts and tribunals of the Member States to determine the conditions under which third party access to documents provided as part of a leniency application should be allowed or refused. The Member States must balance the interests protected by EU law on a case-by-case basis, taking all the relevant factors into account. Depending upon the standard of disclosure adopted by

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Peter Crowther, Michael Holzh√§user, The EU Court of Justice issues preliminary ruling holding that national courts need to balance on a case-by-case basis the interest of preserving the effectiveness of leniency programs and that of facilitating private enforcement by third parties (Pfleiderer), 14 June 2011, e-Competitions June 2011, Art. N° 37345

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