Competition law and public interests. Principles for resolving conflicts and an application to the banking sector, Mart KNEEPKENS

Mart Kneepkens

This section selects books on themes related to competition laws and economics. This compilation does not attempt to be exhaustive but rather a survey of themes important in the area. The survey usually covers publication over the last three months after publication of the latest issue of Concurrences. Publishers, authors and editors are welcome to send books to for review in this section.

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The book is a revised version of the doctoral thesis in law by Mart Kneepkens, under the supervision of Annetje Ottow and Jaap Bikker at the University of Utrecht. The work is ambitious. It offers an exercise in comparative law in the broadest sense of the term. First of all, it is a study of internal comparative law in that it looks at the dynamics of two quite distinct bodies of rules: those of competition law on the one hand and banking law on the other. For each of these two branches of law, the comparison is furthermore made with regard to the rules of Dutch law, but also of European Union law.

The author sets out to decipher the relationship between competition law and banking law. His starting point is to identify the objectives pursued by competition law and banking law respectively. The former seeks to maintain competition between economic operators and, more generally, the competitive functioning of the market, while the latter is essentially concerned with the preservation of financial stability. This divergence of objectives is a potential source of tension when applying competition rules to credit institutions. This could be the case, for example, of a merger between banks that raises competitive concerns but is deemed necessary from a bank resolution perspective.

However, the book highlights a point of convergence around the promotion of overall welfare, a higher purpose that would be shared by both banking and competition law. Mart Kneepkens then attempts to verify whether the latter has the appropriate mechanisms to reconcile the occasionally conflicting imperatives of competition law and banking law. As such, the author considers the existing mechanisms to be imperfect. He then proposes to refocus the reconciliation on global welfare, while recognizing the practical difficulty of using such a criterion. A bit like French law, he argues for an opening up of the possibilities of justification beyond strict economic efficiency, and allowing for distortions in the field of equity or social progress.

This book is therefore particularly welcome. By focusing on the interaction between banking law and competition law, it helps to situate the latter within the legal framework. This study thus makes it possible to consider the application of competition law not from an isolated and blind perspective, but from a conscious and permeable perspective to other sectoral policies, which is most appropriate.

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  • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (Paris)


Antonin Pitras, Competition law and public interests. Principles for resolving conflicts and an application to the banking sector, Mart KNEEPKENS, November 2020, Concurrences N° 4-2020, Art. N° 97387, pp. 281-282

Publisher Eleven International Publishing

Date 2 January 2019

Number of pages 340

Visites 130

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