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The General Court Awards Damages for the Excessive Duration of a Legal Challenge Against a Cartel Fine Before the … General Court

Nicole Coutrelis, Vincent Bringer


Case T-577/14 Gascogne Sack Deutschland and Gascogne v European Union, judgment of the General Court of 10 January 2017
Challenging the amount of a fine in a competition case is now clearly separated from the question of the EU’s liability for breaching Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
In the latest episode of the so-called ‘Industrial Plastic Bags Case’, the General Court was asked to rule on an action for non-contractual liability of the European Union (EU) based on Article 340 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The applicants were arguing that, in cases T-72/06 and T-79/06, the General Court (then known as the Court of First Instance) disregarded the requirement of the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time and asked for compensation. On 10 January 2017, after several tribulations, the General Court recognised the liability of the EU, represented by the Court of Justice, for the excessive duration of the proceedings before the General Court. The judgment issued by the General Court is built as a classical EU liability law case, but at the same time, is remarkable for two aspects. Firstly, the General Court rules on the liability of the EU due to the behaviour of the Court of First Instance (ie itself) represented by the Court of Justice. Secondly, and even more importantly, this case is the first case drawing the practical consequences of the liability of the EU for breach of Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights: the challenge of a cartel fine’s amount imposed by a Commission Decision and the question of the EU’s liability related to the proceedings before the Court of Justice are now clearly separated.

Nicole Coutrelis and Vincent Bringer are lawyers of the Paris bar (avocats au barreau de Paris), Coutrelis & Associés, Paris - Brussels. For correspondence: <> and <>. DOI: 10.21552/core/2017/1/14


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