PUBLIC ANTITRUST ENFORCEMENT - PRIVATE ACTIONS FOR DAMAGES - ENFORCEMENT OF ARTICLES 81 AND 82 EC - WHITE PAPER ON DAMAGES OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION

The relationship between public antitrust enforcement and private actions for damages

This paper concerns the relationship between public antitrust enforcement and private actions for damages, focusing in particular on the enforcement of Articles 81 and 82 EC. In the first half of the paper, I examine the respective roles of public antitrust enforcement and private actions for damages. I argue that public enforcement should aim at clarifying and developing the antitrust prohibitions and deterring and punishing violations, whereas private actions for damages should aim at compensation. This corresponds to the approach adopted by the European Commission in its 2008 White Paper on damages actions for breach of the EC antitrust rules, and differs from the US approach which views damages actions as an instrument of deterrence. In the second half of the paper, I analyse a number of specific issues concerning the interaction between public antitrust enforcement and private actions for damages : the binding effect of the finding of a violation in public enforcement proceedings on follow-on actions for damages ; access to the public enforcement file ; encouragement of voluntary compensation through fine rebates, as a condition for leniency, or as part of settlements ; punitive damages ; private demand for public enforcement ; the impact of private actions for damages on substantive law ; and their impact on leniency.

I. The respective roles of public antitrust enforcement and private actions for damages 1. Introduction 1. Article 81 EC prohibits agreements that restrict competition without redeeming virtue. Article 82 EC prohibits abuse of a dominant position. [1] These prohibitions are publicly enforced by the European Commission and by the competition authorities of the EU Member States. Under Regulation 1/2003, [2] the European Commission can make a finding of an infringement of Articles 81 or 82 EC, impose remedies to bring the infringement to an end, and/or impose fines on the companies concerned of up to 10% of their overall turnover. The competition authorities of the EU Member States can also impose (or seek in their national courts the imposition of) remedies to bring an infringement to

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Auteur

  • King’s College (London)

Citation

Wouter Wils, The relationship between public antitrust enforcement and private actions for damages, décembre 2009, Concurrences N° 4-2009, Art. N° 34956, www.concurrences.com

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