FOREWORD: EUROPEAN UNION - COMPETITION LAW ENFORCEMENT - PARENTAL ANTITRUST LIABILITY - LEGITIMACY - REFORM

Parental antitrust liability and the pressing issue of the legitimacy of EU competition law

The EU-level doctrine of parental antitrust liability presents a number of challenges in terms of securing the legitimacy of EU competition law enforcement. Professor Whelan’s new monograph examines this issue from a positive and normative perspective, ultimately arguing that as currently formulated the EU-level doctrine of parental antitrust liability indeed suffers from a distinct and problematic lack of legitimacy and that the required legal reform should focus on the introduction of a due diligence defence for the parent company.

The European Commission is widely considered to be one of the most robust and influential of antitrust regulators globally. It certainly takes its public enforcement role regarding the EU competition law provisions very seriously indeed: it regularly imposes extremely heavy fines upon companies that are deemed responsible for detected competition law violations. Its enforcement record regarding price-fixing cartels is especially indicative of the commitment it demonstrates in this context. Undeniably, due to the sheer size of the potential financial sanctions facing infringers, it is imperative that the EU-level antitrust regime adheres rigidly to the requirements of the rule of law and that the underlying economic and legal justifications for the imposition of any fines are robust.

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  • University of Leeds

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Peter Whelan, Parental antitrust liability and the pressing issue of the legitimacy of EU competition law, May 2021, Concurrences N° 2-2021, Art. N° 100083, www.concurrences.com

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