ARTICLES : COMPETITION AUTHORITIES - DISCRETIONARY POWER - INVESTIGATION

How much discretion do, and should, competition authorities enjoy in the course of their enforcement activities ? A multi-jurisdictional assessment

The purpose of this study is to assess whether competition agencies (“CAs”) do, and in turn should, enjoy an unfettered discretionary power in the context of the investigation of competition law infringements or whether their margin of discretion should be subject to certain limits. To this end, it focuses on four successive areas where CAs may be entitled to make choices, i.e. detection of infringements, selection of enforcement targets, initiation of infringement proceedings and outcome of the case. Thanks to reports received from 21 national experts in response to a questionnaire covering 18 jurisdictions, the present study formulates a number of public policy proposals.

1. The discretion vested in competition authorities (“CAs”) belongs certainly to the hall of fame of the most researched competition law topics. For several decades, the legal and economic literature has indeed been replete with debates over CAs' discretionary choices in respect of the substantive appraisal of firms' conduct. By contrast, however, the organizational, procedural and institutional dimension of CAs' discretion has garnered much less interest. In this context, the purpose of this study is to assess whether competition agencies do, and in turn should enjoy an unfettered discretionary power in the context of the investigation of competition law infringements or whether their margin of discretion should be subject to certain limits. [1] To this end, it relies on empirical

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Auteur

  • Liège University - IEJE

Citation

Nicolas Petit, How much discretion do, and should, competition authorities enjoy in the course of their enforcement activities ? A multi-jurisdictional assessment, février 2010, Revue Concurrences N° 1-2010, Art. N° 30048, pp. 44-62

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