This article deals with the application of the principle of ne bis in idem in EC antitrust enforcement. The principle of ne bis in idem, laid down in Article 4 of Protocol No. 7 to the European Convention on Human Rights and in Article 50 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, is the European equivalent of the double jeopardy clause in the United States. It contributes to efficient law enforcement, in that it prevents over-punishment, creates incentives for efficient prosecution, prevents vexatious multiple prosecutions and create incentives for efficient coordination between prosecutors. The application of the principle of ne bis in idem is of particular importance in the context of the EU network of competition authorities set up by Regulation No. 1/2003. It will have the likely and desirable effect of inducing effective coordination between the European Commission and the competition authorities of the Member States as well as harmonization of their laws and policies on fines en leniency.
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