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Bpost and Nordzucker AG: The End of Competition Law Enforcement Exceptionalism Concerning the Principle of Ne bis In Idem journal article

Francesco Rizzuto

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 6 (2022), Issue 2, Page 154 - 166

Case C-117/20 bpost SA and Case C-151/20 Nordzucker AG, Zudzucker AG, Agrana Zucker GmbH, Judgments of the Court of Justice (Grand Chamber) of 22 March 2022 The Court of Justice of the European Union in two Grand Chamber rulings has overturned its established case law on the conditions that must be satisfied in order for the protection against double jeopardy provided by Article 50 of the EU Charter of Fundamental rights to be applicable. The controversial and doctrinally weak third condition concerning the identity of the legal interest , in addition to the identity of the facts and persons, has now been abandoned. It has been replaced by the legal exception rule provided for in Article 52 of the Charter. In essence, this means that the double jeopardy rule will not be infringed by enforcers of EU Competition Law in parallel or subsequent enforcement proceedings including complementary proceedings and penalties based on distinct legal grounds as long as the requirements of Article 52, as clarified by the Court are respected. The rulings thus ends EU Competition law enforcement exceptionalism compared two other areas of EU law regarding the conditions that must be met in order for the protection against ‘criminal’ proceedings and penalties to be satisfied.


Multi-Jurisdictional Leniency Applications and the Deterring Effect on Leniency journal article

Ruben Korsten

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 6 (2022), Issue 3, Page 195 - 206

Since pioneering work of Choi Gerlach in 2012, not much game theoretical literature has followed to address issues of global cartel formation and international antitrust enforcement. This article addresses this gap, especially with regards to multi-jurisdictional leniency applications. It is found that multi-jurisdictional leniency applications expose international cartel leniency applicants to various risks and have high transaction costs. Therefore, the effectiveness of domestic programmes depends on the possibility of obtaining leniency in other jurisdictions. If an applicant can simultaneously count with leniency in all relevant jurisdictions, the attractiveness of leniency should increase, as the overall benefits for the applicant will be greater. However, if applying for leniency leads to leniency in some jurisdictions but certain penalties in others, this will disincentivise the use of leniency, which would make international cartels more stable. This article thus demonstrates the need for international cooperation in order for leniency policies to be effective. Keywords: antitrust enforcement; cartels; information sharing; international cooperation; leniency






The Digital Markets Act: journal article

Improving Its Institutional Design

Giorgio Monti

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 5 (2021), Issue 2, Page 90 - 101

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) is a major policy initiative to regulate platform gatekeepers in a more systematic manner than under competition law. This paper reflects on the institutional set-up in the Commission proposal. While the DMA is well-designed, this paper recommends improvement in the following aspects: (i) matching the DMA’s objectives with obligations imposed on gatekeepers; (ii) facilitating a regulatory dialogue; (iii) streamlining the enforcement pyramid; (iv) emphasising the role of private enforcement; (iv) clarifying the role of competition law when the DMA applies. Keywords: Digital Markets Act, DMA, responsive regulation, private enforcement


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) journal article

Francesco Rizzuto, Monika Lynch

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 5 (2021), Issue 2, Page 162 - 171

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.


Parallel Enforcement of Global Cartels: journal article

Facts and Figures

Pieter J.F. Huizing

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 4 (2020), Issue 2, Page 96 - 107

The history of active enforcement of cartels having a worldwide scope does not go back much further than twenty-five years. But a remarkable development has taken place within this relatively short timeframe. This article aims to provide quantitative insight into the changing nature of global cartel enforcement. It identifies 41 global cartels which were subject to corporate fines and which were discovered between 1990 and 2018. An analysis of the sanctioning of these cartels shows that more and more authorities are pursuing global cartels, often in parallel. The Auto parts, Maritime car carriers and Air cargo cartels for example were each subject to fines in ten or more different jurisdictions. The proliferation of authorities pursuing global cartels has contributed to the dramatic rise of the overall level of fines imposed for global cartel conduct. There are now nine global cartels for which penalties exceeding $1 billion have been imposed. In view of the increasingly crowded enforcement community, one would expect to see greater levels of inter-agency coordination in respect of not just the investigation but also the punishment of global cartels. However, attempts to coordinate the outcome of proceedings in order to reach an overall proportionate fine still appear to be both ad hoc and rare. Keywords: global cartels; international cartel enforcement; cartel fines; parallel enforcement; inter-agency coordination


The Otis Judgement: Another Conformation of the Expansive Scope of Cartel Liability after Kone (C-435/18 Otis) journal article

Martin Gassler

European Competition and Regulatory Law Review, Volume 4 (2020), Issue 1, Page 45 - 48

Case C-435/18 Otis GmbH and others v Land Oberösterreich and others, Judgement of the Court of Justice of 12 December 2019 On 12 December 2019, the Court of Justice (CJ) delivered another preliminary reference ruling that further strengthens private antitrust enforcement in the EU. The CJ followed Advocate General Kokott and ruled that even persons not acting as suppliers or purchasers on the market affected by the cartel can claim damages directly from cartel members. The judgement was delivered upon request by the Austrian Supreme Court (Oberste Gerichtshof) that struggled again – after its request for a preliminary ruling in connection with the same elevator cartel in 2014 that led to the Kone judgement – to apply national tort law that restricted liability of cartel members to only those suppliers and purchasers that are active on the relevant product and geographic market affect by the cartel.