Book Contribution


Directive EU/2014/104 is the latest legal instrument that crystalizes the evolution of EU competition law enforcement. This paper assesses critically the features of the Directive and the challenges it poses for its implementation by Member States. The Directive codifies the case law of the EUCJ and it encroaches upon the autonomy of Member States in setting the institutions, remedies and procedures available for victims’ of antitrust infringements. Although the Directive provides a fragmented and incomplete set of rules that only partially harmonizes antitrust damages claims in the EU, and it’s slanted towards follow-on cartel damages claims, it has publicised the availability of damages claims, creating momentum that will transform how competition law is enforced in the future.
Reference :

Co-written with Barry J. Rodger & Miguel Sousa Ferro, preliminary draft of Chapter 2 of The EU Antitrust Damages Directive: Transposition in the Member States (Oxford University Press, eds. B. RODGER,M.S. FERRO & F.MARCOS, due for publication in 2018).

When Competition is the last concern? The Battle for the control of Endesa

Competition law and regulation had played a prominent role in the process of construction and liberalization of the internal energy market in the EU. Several transactions in the last decade have shown the difficulties of the process and how Member States may occasionally make a political use of merger review rules and of regulation to benefit domestic firms. This chapter describes in all its complexity the ENDESA takeover contest (2005-2007). This case is a unique example of the mixture of legal issues that may be involved in takeovers requiring competition and regulatory approval. Several lessons can be learnt from the case, not only for the history of Spanish and European competition law (especially regarding merger review). Other relevant industrial policy, regulation and corporate law issues were also raised by this landmark case, though the case is mainly illustrative of how politics, at the end, may affect or shape the final outcome in some business transactions.
Reference :

in Landmark cases in competition law: around the world in fourteen stories, ed. B. Rodger, Wolters Kluwer, Alphen aan den Rijn, 2013, ISBN 978-90-411-3843-9, pages 287-318.

'Human Rights' Protection for Corporate Antitrust Defendants: Are We Not Going Overboard?

There seems to be a clear trend of increased protection of ‘corporate human rights’ and, more specifically, due process rights (or procedural fairness) in the field of enforcement of competition law. To a large extent, that trend is based on the uncritical extension of human rights protection to corporate defendants by a process of simple assimilation of corporate and individual defendants. This paper briefly explores the rationale behind the creation of due process rights when the individual is the beneficiary of such protection. It then goes on to critically assess if the same need exists for the extension of those protections to corporate defendants, particularly in the field of competition law or antitrust enforcement. It concludes with some warnings concerning the diminishing effectiveness of competition law prohibitions and of human law protection that can result from an overstretched conception of due process protection in this area of EU economic law. From a substantive perspective, the paper submits that the extension of human rights to corporations cannot be uncritical and should not be completely symmetrical to that for human beings; but that it rather needs to be necessarily adapted to their circumstances. To put it more bluntly, it is suggested that in the field of the enforcement of economic law, administrative law procedures should be sound and there should clearly be a strong system of judicial review in place, but corporations should not have access to broader constitutional or human rights protections and any perceived shortcomings in the design and application of those procedures should remain within the sphere of regulatory reform.
Reference :

together with Albert Sánchez-Graells in Procedural Fairness in Competition Proceedings (P. Nihoul; T. Skoczny eds.) Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015, ISBN 978-1-78536-005-3 pages 84-107

Transposition of the Antirust Damages Directive into Spanish Law

This chapter analyses the legal measures adopted to implement Directive 2014/104/EU into Spanish law. After briefly looking at the context of private enforcement of competition law in Spain, it examines the process followed for the transposition and the issues discussed before the adoption of the Transposition Decree in May 2017. Overall, it can be affirmed that the new rules comply with the mandates of the Directive, only in a few matters there seems that there will be doubts concerning the interpretation of the new provisions. Some of the doubts may be rooted in the Directive itself (relative responsibility of co-infringers, umbrella claimants, harm to suppliers), and others in the lack of express rules in the Transposition Decree on some matters (causation, fault requirement, interests calculation), moreover it is uncertain how the new procedural tools will play out in practice as they imply a revolutionary change in our procedural rules.
Reference :

in B. Rodger, M.S. Ferro & F. Marcos (eds) The EU Antitrust Damages Directive: Transposition in the Member States (Oxford University Press, due for publication in 2018)

Leniency and Criminal Sanctions: Happily Married or Uneasy Bedfellows?

This this chapter of the book Anti-Cartel Enforcement in a Contemporary Age: Leniency Religion, the authors consider a range of theories that may explain the dynamics in the cartel leniency — cartel criminalisation relationship and, in particular, that address the question as to whether the relationship suggests a largely instrumental justification for criminalisation (that is, using criminal sanctions to bolster leniency policies), as distinct from a more normative justification (that is, using criminal sanctions to reflect and punish the harmful and delinquent nature of cartels). Whichever theory is favoured, the authors argue that the relationship is problematic, replete with ambiguities, tensions and contradictions that threaten the legitimacy and effectiveness of both competition and criminal law enforcement. In making this case, Harding, Edwards and Beaton-Wells canvas the fragility of the economic policy justifications for singling out certain types of cartel conduct for criminal treatment; the retributive compromise and foreclosure inherent in a leniency-driven strategy of enforcement; the ways in which leniency policy underscores and may even reinforce the otherwise immoral (cheating) behaviour said to attract the moral opprobrium associated with criminal sanctions; the ways in which leniency policy shapes and distorts the relationship between cartelists as prospective leniency applicants and competition authorities; and the potential for leniency policy to be ‘gamed’ by cartelists and the associated risk of business capture of the legal process.
Reference :

Christopher Harding, Caron Beaton-Wells and Jennifer Edwards, 'Leniency and Criminal Sanctions: Happily Married or Uneasy Bedfellows?' in in C Beaton-Wells and C Tran (eds), Anti-Cartel Enforcement in a Contemporary Age: Leniency Religion, Hart Publishing, 2015, ch 12, pp234-260

Antitrust Appraisal of Vertical Agreements in the ASEAN Economic Community: Proposals for a More Harmonised Approach

In spite of the ASEAN goal of harmonising national competition policies and laws, the ASEAN Member States (AMSs) adopt an array of different approaches towards a number of procedural and substantive competition law issues, including the substantive appraisal of vertical agreements. The question of whether, and if so how, analysis of vertical agreements under the competition laws of the AMSs should be aligned has, to date, received little attention from ASEAN competition agencies. This paper notes that this is, nonetheless, a matter of considerable importance. Not only do the differences in approach adopted undermine ASEAN’s stated objectives, but they are likely to be damaging competition and efficiency and inhibiting market integration. The paper draws on practice and experience in the US and EU to consider whether, and if so how, the approach to vertical agreements under the competition law systems of the AMSs should be reformed or developed to ensure a more coherent policy which is optimal for achieving ASEAN’s objectives. One issue considered is whether the EU policy towards resale price maintenance and restraints on cross-border trade should be emulated. In particular, whether a hardline approach should be adopted against vertical restraints which enable firms to partition the ASEAN market along national lines and perpetuate price differences in the AMSs, thereby undermining its single market objective. The paper concludes that although greater harmonisation of policies towards vertical agreements might be desirable, it will be difficult to achieve within the existing national systems without some legislative changes and significant cooperation between the ASEAN competition authorities. Given the different perspectives that the separate legislative regimes reflect, debate will be required to build consensus around a more uniform approach that can effectively be implemented within each of the national systems.
Reference :

B. Ong (ed), The Regionalisation of Competition Law and Policy in ASEAN, (Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming) TLI Think! Paper 48/2016 King's College London Law School Research Paper No. 2017-01