The harmless error rule and the French commitment procedure* Merely one month before the ECJ delivered its very expected judgment in the Alrosa case, a ruling of the Paris Court of Appeals confirmed that the exercise of the rights of the defense in commitment procedures raises delicate issues also at the national level. This ruling must be read in light of a key difference between the proceedings before the Commission and those before the French Authority: while before the Commission the complainant has limited access to the file, before the French Authority he gets the same right of access as the investigated parties. However, like for many other procedural rights, lack of access to the file does not automatically trigger the annulment of the decision. This is unequivocally
The Paris Court of Appeal applies the EU "harmless error rule" in a commitment procedure where a party has been denied full access to the French Competition Authority’s file (Canal 9)
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