French Competition Law

Louis Vogel

The French model continues to see competition law as an instrument in the service of the State or its institutions, and this is reflected in the fact that the administrative authorities are generally competent in the first instance, that administrative repression is prevalent and that private actions remain rare. These rules of enforcement exist in parallel with the somewhat rigid substantive rules – but which are easy to apply - generally based on the principle of prohibition/exemption.

In addition, with the increase in covert anticompetitive behavior, the effectiveness of administrative law enforcement has now been called into question and the application of competition law increasingly left to the parties themselves.

A change in the French model seems predictable in the short term. If, in the future, private parties can more easily claim compensation for harm suffered, there is no reason, other than to punish the perpetrators of anticompetitive practices twice, for the State to continue to impose very heavy administrative fines in order to repair the “damage to the economy”, as it is formulated under French law.

It is likely that in the future, the French system will become more judicial-based, using specialized courts before which private parties and administrative authorities can bring their actions. Correlatively, political control, particularly in the area of mergers, will see its influence decline, although French law will never seek to defend competition or favor efficiency for their own sakes and will continue to pursue extra-competitive objectives such as the protection of jobs, the environment, or simply, the public interest.

Written by a continental lawyer with experience of common law systems through study and practice, this book aims to set out the principles and trends of a law in perpetual motion, always starting from the case law to bring together the best of both those legal worlds.

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  • University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne


Stéphane Rodrigues, French Competition Law, mai 2015, Concurrences N° 2-2015, Art. N° 72640, p. 236


Date 3 mars 2015

Nombre de pages 824

Visites 423

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