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Electronic Evidence in EU Competition Procedures:

The Need to Reconcile the Commission’s Investigatory Powers with Procedural Defence and Data Protection Rights

Joana Fraga Nunes


Keywords: EU competition procedures, electronic evidence, defence rights, data protection rights

Technological progress has led to globalised access to all types of information, and one’s digital traces are now everywhere. As such, electronic evidence has become an extremely important tool for investigations, yet it lacks a legal framework for its collection and processing. Specifically, the use of electronic evidence in EU competition procedures raises several legal challenges, considering i) the lack of a legal framework for the collection and processing of electronic evidence at the EU level, leading to legal uncertainty; ii) the absence of a harmonised EU procedural framework for the enforcement of EU competition law by Member States, resulting in varying levels of judicial protection and iii) the narrow application of defence and data protection rights in EU competition procedures in light of the said conflicting, but complementary, interests.
Keywords: EU competition procedures; electronic evidence; defence rights; data protection rights

Joana Fraga Nunes, LLM in European Public Law & Governance (University of Maastricht, The Netherlands), Trainee Lawyer in the European and Competition Law department, Morais Leitão, Lisbon, Portugal. For correspondence: <>. The author would like to thank Luís do Nascimento Ferreira and Philipp Melcher for the expertise and the valuable comments and suggestions, which contributed towards the quality of this contribution.


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