Competition and regulation: How to coordinate the interventions of competition authorities and sectoral regulators?

Conference organised by Concurrences, in partnership with Fréget & Associés and Cercle Montesquieu.

Panel 1 - Substantive Jurisdiction Authorities / Jurisdictions: Conflict of norms or conflict of jurisdictions?

Francesco Martucci

The proposed topic is the competence and powers of the Competition Authority when faced with public authorities, when the latter interact with the market and are thus directed or even diverted by corporate behaviour. The question raised is thus that of the boundaries of competition law, and more specifically the boundaries between public and private. It calls for fundamental reflection, as two recent decisions of the Authority show. In the first, handed down on 20 September 2018 in the AGN Avocats case (18-D-18), the Authority declared itself incompetent to hear two deliberations of the Limoges Bar Council. The latter had rejected AGN Avocats’ application for the opening of a secondary bar in Limoges and its registration with the Bar Association. The Authority also gave its opinion on the opinions delivered by the Commission in charge of assessing the rules and practices of the National Bar Council, which interpreted the provisions of the national rules of procedure. The Authority has stated that, assuming that it is competent to assess the legality of the adoption and dissemination of these opinions, it does not appear that these opinions are part of an anti-competitive strategy aimed at foreclosing AGN Avocats from the legal services market. Nor does the parallelism in the practice of the Bars and Law Societies of applying the same ethical rules to AGN Avocats constitute a concerted practice.

Photos © Philippe Barbosa

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