MÉLIN François, Joly éditions, 2010, 298 p.

Les programmes de clémence en droit de la concurrence - Droit français et droit communautaire

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The prohibition of cartels is a fundamental element of French and Community competition law. Cartels are detrimental to the general interest, in particular by leading to price increases. The European Commission and the Competition Authority certainly have significant means at their disposal to prosecute companies that do not comply with this prohibition. The general media regularly report on sanctions imposed on companies, whether national or international in scope. These sanctions are a priori dissuasive. In the car glass case, for example, the total amount of the fines imposed by the Commission was in excess of EUR 1.380 billion.

Experience shows, however, that sanctions are most often imposed after lengthy proceedings and are frequently challenged before judges. For this reason, the idea has developed that participants in a cartel could be granted leniency if they helped to establish the existence of the practice in question. This idea was implemented as early as 1978 in the United States. It was subsequently enshrined in Community law and in French law. An undertaking which has participated in a cartel may therefore benefit from immunity or a reduction in the financial penalty incurred if it discloses prohibited conduct and cooperates with the Commission or the Competition Authority.

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  • University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne


Catherine Prieto, Les programmes de clémence en droit de la concurrence - Droit français et droit communautaire, May 2010, Concurrences N° 2-2010, Art. N° 31359, p. 198

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