ARTICLE: PRIVATE ENFORCEMENT - US EXPERIENCE - CLASS ACTIONS - DAMAGES ACTIONS FOR BREACH OF THE EC ANTITRUST RULES - DISCOVERY RULES - TREBLE DAMAGES - PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE - CONTINGENT FEES - “ONE-WAY COST” RULE - CY-PRES DOCTRINE

Private enforcement: The US approach

What could we learn from the American experience in private enforcement with its strong and weak aspects? The answer is troublesome as bias and caricature are often prevailing in France as well as in the United States. As a matter of fact, this experience is not easy to grasp because of the American opinions themselves. Some American observers sincerely underline and deplore the lack of statistics and reliable data. The best example regards class actions. That is the reason why the debates are so controversial in the United States and why their experience is undermined. Anyway, echoes of those debates are useful to our own debates in Europe. They could inspire us to elaborate our own solutions. This article scrutinizes some points and put them in perspective with the White paper written by the DG COMP “Damages actions for breach of the EC antitrust rules”. In conclusion, discovery rules and treble damages are not put forward. But prima facie evidence, contingent fees, “one-way cost” rule, class action and cy-pres doctrine are considered to raise interesting possibilities.

1. Le droit de la concurrence devant le juge de droit commun. Pour préparer la Convention nationale des avocats de cette année 2008, sous la thématique générale “Concurrence et compétitivité”, l'ordre des avocats de Bordeaux a choisi de traiter un thème de très grande actualité à la fois sur le plan communautaire et sur le plan national : celui de la réparation des préjudices issus de pratiques anticoncurrentielles. C'est ainsi qu'il a arrêté le sujet du droit de la libre concurrence devant le juge de droit commun. Depuis 2003, la Commission européenne s'intéresse de très près à cette problématique. Elle a d'abord commandé un rapport d'étude au cabinet Ashurst qui, en 2004, a révélé que les victimes de pratiques anticoncurrentielles demandaient rarement réparation en raison d'obstacles juridiques importants

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  • University Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne

Quotation

Catherine Prieto, Private enforcement: The US approach, December 2008, Concurrences Review N° 4-2008, Art. N° 22089, pp. 50-63

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