The EU Damages Directive - the perfect storm ?

Conference organized by Concurrences in partnership with Covington & Burling, Compass Lexecon and Hausfeld.

An explanation by the initiator - the Commission

Canetta and Haasbeek started off with an overview of the elements that gave rise to the Directive, and the case law and initiatives preceding its adoption. Explaining that the main objectives of the Directive were to allow more compensation for victims and to secure a stronger enforcement overall, they set apart how the easier access to evidence and the introduction of rebuttable presumptions that cartels cause harm and that harm is passed on to the level of indirect purchasers are meant to take away the largest obstacles for plaintiffs. In the overview of the content of the Directive, the Commission underlined that they will issue Guidelines on the passing-on of overcharges.

A triangle of opposed points of view

Limitation periods

The Directive has the merit of attempting to harmonise limitation periods for antitrust damages claims throughout the European Union. In the minds of the discussants, though, it fails on a number of points. First, Geelhand and Maton observe that it doesn’t introduce a hard and fast rule on the starting point of the limitation period. The Directive imposes that such period shall only begin to run once “the infringement of competition law has ceased and the claimant knows, or can reasonably be expected to know: (a) of the behaviour and the fact that it constitutes an infringement of competition law; (b) of the fact that the infringement of competition law caused harm to it; and (c) the identity of the infringer” [1]

Photos © Emilie Gomez

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[1Article 10, para. 2.


  • Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick (Brussels)
  • DG COMP (Brussels)
  • DG COMP (Brussels)
  • Compass Lexecon (Düsseldorf)
  • Covington & Burling (Brussels)
  • Hausfeld (Brussels)
  • Covington & Burling (Brussels)
  • Hausfeld (London)