LEGAL PRACTICE: ANTICOMPETITIVE PRACTICES - FRANCE - QUANTIFICATION OF HARM - ADMINISTRATIVE LITIGATION

The assessment by the French administrative judge of the harm resulting from anticompetitive practices

The French road signs cartel case has resulted in significant volume of litigation before French administrative courts, which led to the award of very high damages (in view of the size of the markets concerned and of the amount of the fines imposed by the French Competition Authority). Based on several edifying examples, this article sheds light on the administrative courts’ difficulties to apply the methodologies which are recommended by both competition authorities and the Paris Court of Appeals to quantify economic damage. After pointing out that, according to the principle of ’full damage compensation’, judges may not grant damages that exceed the harm actually suffered, this article advocates for better consideration of economic principles used to quantify the damage suffered, in accordance with the right of all parties to be heard (such right being too often jeopardized when courts decide to rely on the experts appointed by them).

*This article is an automatic translation of the original article in French, provided here for your convenience. Read the original article. 1. The difficulties inherent in quantifying the damage resulting from anti-competitive practices (hereafter "antitrust damage") have recently been highlighted by the extensive litigation on compensation following the decision of the Competition Authority sanctioning a cartel in the vertical [1]road signs sector. To date, this is the case which has provided the largest number of actions for antitrust damages in France. 2. Sanctioned for having divided up the calls for tenders organised by local authorities (for their supply of road signs), the eight main French suppliers have for nearly ten years been facing numerous actions by several

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François Brunet, Céline Verney, The assessment by the French administrative judge of the harm resulting from anticompetitive practices, May 2020, Concurrences N° 2-2020, Art. N° 93692, www.concurrences.com

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