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Has the CJEU’s Slovak Telekom Ruling Declared the Principle of Ne Bis in Idem Virtually Redundant in Cases of Parallel Public Enforcement of EU Competition Law? (C-857/19 Slovak Telekom)

Francesco Rizzuto, Monika Lynch


Keywords: ne bis in idem, parallel enforcement, Regulation 1/2003, liability of undertakings

Case C-857/19 Slovak Telekom a.s. v Protimonopoly
Urad Slovenskej Republiky, Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 25 February 2021
In this ruling the Court of Justice of the European has established two key rules that taken together with previous rulings of the Court amount to rendering virtually redundant the principle of ne bis in idem as a defense in the parallel enforcement of competition law in the European Union under Regulation 1/2003. First, it has clarified that the same abusive conduct may constitute a series of separate offences where the abuse concerns distinct products and prosecuting and sanctioning them separately would not be incompatible with the principle of ne bis in idem. Secondly, it ruled that where the Commission relieves a national competition authority of a case, only the Commission decision prevails regardless of the stage or status of proceedings conducted by the national competition authority. The implications for the liability of undertakings may be far-reaching.

Francesco Rizzuto, Professor of European Law, Edge Hill University, Head of Department of Law and Criminology. For correspondence: <>. Monika Lynch, Professional Tutor in Law, Liverpool Hope University. For correspondence: <>.


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