Cartel damages claims in Europe: How courts have assessed overcharges

National courts in Europe have handed out over fifty judgments in cartel damages claims, and have awarded damages in at least 23 cases. In these cases, the courts have reviewed various methods for quantifying cartel overcharges. Rather than economic or econometric modelling which is sometimes perceived as complex, courts seem to prefer straightforward comparator-based approaches founded on facts and calculations that they can verify.

1. The number of cartel damages claims in the European Union has increased sharply in recent years. In January 2009, the aggregate number of such claims was estimated to be only 18; in October 2016, this figure had increased to at least 70. [1] As the transposition of Directive 2014/104/EU on antitrust damages actions [2] is now well on its way in many Member States, the number of claims is likely to increase further. [3] 2. The harm in most cartel damages claims is an overcharge. It is the difference between prices resulting from a cartel infringement, and what these prices would have been if set solely by market forces. Published in 2013, the Commission’s Practical Guide on Quantifying Harm in Actions for Damages describes methods considered by the Commission to be potentially

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Jean-François Laborde, Cartel damages claims in Europe: How courts have assessed overcharges, February 2017, Concurrences N° 1-2017, Art. N° 83418, pp. 36-42

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