Paris

Human rights and competition law

Lunchtalk organised by Concurrences Review in partnership with White & Case.

Guy Canivet

Our debate is about competition law as the basis for economic policy and fundamental guarantees. Its theme focuses, in principle, on human rights as such, leaving aside other fundamental rights such as freedom of enterprise or contractual freedom. With regard to human rights in the strict sense, a distinction must be made between substantive rights (e.g. prohibition of forced labour) and procedural or procedural freedoms. We could have dealt with human rights in their substantial dimension because, in a liberal economy, competition produces negative externalities that lead to violations of social or environmental rights or to discrimination. We felt, however, that the subject would have been too broad in the limited time available for this debate and that it was wiser to confine ourselves to the procedural aspect of human rights in the implementation of competition law. This essentially concerns the principle of legality of offences and penalties, the principle of individualisation of penalties and the presumption of innocence, the right to appeal, as well as the rights related to the administration of proof (loyalty or "questionability" of evidence) or the procedural guarantees that accompany compliance procedures (settlement, non-contestation of grievances).

Photos © Léo-Paul Ridet

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