Restriction "by object" after the Cartes Bancaires ruling

Law & Economics workshop organized by Concurrences in partnership with Gide Loyrette Nouel and RBB Economics.


Catherine Prieto (Professor, Sorbonne Law School, University of Paris 1, Panthéon Sorbonne)

The Groupement CB judgment handed down by the ECJ on 11 September 2014 should be read in conjunction with the Mastercard judgment of the same day. They explore the singular relationship of object and effect in the methodology for qualifying the restriction of competition in the field of evidence. Comparing them, it can be seen that judicial review is more rigorous for the qualification of a restriction by object than for that of a restriction by effect. The Grouping CB judgment takes on particular significance in so far as the Court of First Instance proceeded by economy of means and confined itself to classifying a restriction by object, where the Commission had taken care to find, in addition to a restriction by object, a restriction by effect. The annulment by the ECJ is therefore all the more significant. Here we find ourselves at the heart of competition policy with a fourfold challenge: (i) not to reduce the harmfulness of the restriction to the narrow field of cartels or hardcore restrictions; (ii) the effectiveness of Article 101; (iii) the legal predictability of undertakings; and (iv) the place of economic analysis in the assessment of the object by taking account of its context.

Photos © Leo Ridet

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