Fine mitigating


Institution Definition

According to the European Commission’s Guidelines on the method of setting fines imposed pursuant to Article 23(2)(a) of Regulation No 1/2003, the basic amount of fines may be reduced where the Commission finds that mitigating circumstances exist, such as:

  • where the undertaking concerned provides evidence that it terminated the infringement as soon as the Commission intervened: this will not apply to secret agreements or practices (in particular, cartels);
  • where the undertaking provides evidence that the infringement has been committed as a result of negligence;
  • where the undertaking provides evidence that its involvement in the infringement is substantially limited and thus demonstrates that, during the period in which it was party to the offending agreement, it actually avoided applying it by adopting competitive conduct in the market: the mere fact that an undertaking participated in an infringement for a shorter duration than others will not be regarded as a mitigating circumstance since this will already be reflected in the basic amount;
  • where the undertaking concerned has effectively cooperated with the Commission outside the scope of the Leniency Notice and beyond its legal obligation to do so;
  • where the anti-competitive conduct of the undertaking has been authorized or encouraged by public authorities or by legislation. © European Commission

Pursuant to the Autorité de la concurrence’s Notice of 16 May 2011 on the Method Relating to the Setting of Financial Penalties, the Autorité may take into consideration the existence of mitigating circumstances, on the basis of an assessment of all the relevant circumstances of the case at stake. The mitigating circumstances in view of which the Autorité may decrease the basic amount of the financial penalty, for an undertaking or an entity, may include among others the fact that:

  • the undertaking or entity provides evidence that it has adopted, on a lasting basis, a competitive conduct, for a significant portion of the products or services at stake, to the point of having disrupted, as a maverick, the very operation of the practice at stake;
  • the undertaking or entity provides evidence that it was coerced to participate in the infringement;
  • the infringement has been authorized or encouraged by public authorities. © Autorité de la concurrence

On this topic see the e-Competitions special issue "Mitigation of fines: An overview of EU and national case law" 

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