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Towards a harmonised collective redress mechanism for the private enforcement of EU competition law

Abstract

The paper investigates the collective redress mechanisms in the EU and tries to highlight the importance of harmonizing an effective collective redress mechanism. The Recommendation was a landmark in this development, and even thought it proposes a general collective solution, it is not binding for the Member States. The New Deal for Consumers package consists a proposal on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests, but it focuses only on consumers. This paper searches for an effective legal redress for those, who suffered mass harm from the infringement of EU competition law.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Directive 2014/2014/104/EU of the European Parliament and the Council of 26 November 2014 on certain rules governing actions for damages under national law for infringements of the competition law provisions of the Member States and of the European Union.

  2. 2.

    Commission Recommendation on common principles for injunctive and compensatory collective redress mechanisms in the Member States concerning violations of rights granted under Union Law (2013/396/EU). [2013] OJ L 201/1.

  3. 3.

    Cases C-295/04 to C-298/04 Manfredi, EU:C:2006:461.

  4. 4.

    Case C-453/99 Courage, EU:C:2001:465.

  5. 5.

    Buccirossi-Marvão et al. [3].

  6. 6.

    Case C-453/99 Courage, EU:C:2001:465.

  7. 7.

    Waelbroeck et al. [16].

  8. 8.

    Commission of the European Communities: Green Paper - Damages actions for breach of the EC antitrust rules, 2005. Available at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:52005DC0672&from=EN.

  9. 9.

    Varga et al. [15].

  10. 10.

    Commission of the European Communities: White Paper on damages actions for breach of the EC antitrust rules. Available at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:52008DC0165&from=EN.

  11. 11.

    Commission of the European Communities: White Paper on damages actions for breach of the EC antitrust rules. Available at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:52008DC0165&from=EN.

  12. 12.

    Dunne [5] p. 13.

  13. 13.

    Further complementary measures are the Commission Communication and Practical Guide on quantifying antitrust harm in damages actions. Available at https://ec.europa.eu/competition/antitrust/actionsdamages/quantification_en.html.

  14. 14.

    Geradin [7] p. 1083.

  15. 15.

    Buccirossi [2] pp. 65-67.

  16. 16.

    Eliantonio [6] pp. 116-118.

  17. 17.

    Horváth [10] pp. 17-18, and Bencsik [1] pp. 657-658.

  18. 18.

    Horváth [10] p. 17.

  19. 19.

    Commission Recommendation on common principles for injunctive and compensatory collective redress mechanisms in the Member States concerning violations of rights granted under Union Law (2013/396/EU). [2013] OJ L 201/1 Art. III Sect. 14.

  20. 20.

    Miskolczi-Bodnár [12]. p. 22., p. 46.

  21. 21.

    Geradin [7] p. 1088.

  22. 22.

    Commission Recommendation on common principles for injunctive and compensatory collective redress mechanisms in the Member States concerning violations of rights granted under Union Law (2013/396/EU). [2013] OJ L 201/1 Art. III Sect. 4. (rep. action), 21. (opt-in).

  23. 23.

    Commission Recommendation on common principles for injunctive and compensatory collective redress mechanisms in the Member States concerning violations of rights granted under Union Law (2013/396/EU). [2013] OJ L 201/1 Art. III Sect. 8.

  24. 24.

    Commission Recommendation on common principles for injunctive and compensatory collective redress mechanisms in the Member States concerning violations of rights granted under Union Law (2013/396/EU). [2013] OJ L 201/1 Art. III Sect. 30.

  25. 25.

    Commission Recommendation on common principles for injunctive and compensatory collective redress mechanisms in the Member States concerning violations of rights granted under Union Law (2013/396/EU). [2013] OJ L 201/1 Art. III Sect. 15-16.

  26. 26.

    Commission Recommendation on common principles for injunctive and compensatory collective redress mechanisms in the Member States concerning violations of rights granted under Union Law (2013/396/EU). [2013] OJ L 201/1 Art. III Sect. 13.

  27. 27.

    LG Düsseldorf, Urteil vom 17.12.2013 - 37 O (Kart) 200/09, https://openjur.de/u/663655.html.

  28. 28.

    Act V of 2013 on the Civil Code, 6:99§.

  29. 29.

    Horváth [10] p. 18.

  30. 30.

    Horváth [10] pp. 17-19.

  31. 31.

    Nagy [14] pp. 30-31.

  32. 32.

    Moisejevas [13] p. 183.

  33. 33.

    Geradin [7] pp. 1091-1095.

  34. 34.

    Bencsik [1] pp. 655-657.

  35. 35.

    Nagy [14] pp. 22-30.

  36. 36.

    Harsági [8] pp. 217–238.

  37. 37.

    Nagy [14] pp. 32-36.

  38. 38.

    Horváth [10] p. 18.

  39. 39.

    Directive 2014/104/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 November 2014 on certain rules governing actions for damages under national law for infringements of the competition law provisions of the Member States and of the European Union. [2014] OJ L 349.

  40. 40.

    Directive 2014/104/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 November 2014 on certain rules governing actions for damages under national law for infringements of the competition law provisions of the Member States and of the European Union. [2014] OJ L 349 Art. 3(2).

  41. 41.

    Directive 2014/104/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 November 2014 on certain rules governing actions for damages under national law for infringements of the competition law provisions of the Member States and of the European Union. [2014] OJ L 349. Recital (13) of the Preamble.

  42. 42.

    Directive 2014/104/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 November 2014 on certain rules governing actions for damages under national law for infringements of the competition law provisions of the Member States and of the European Union. [2014] OJ L 349. Recital (13) of the Preamble.

  43. 43.

    Juška [11].

  44. 44.

    UK, Competition Act 1998.

  45. 45.

    2015 CR Act, Chap. 15 Sect. 81.

  46. 46.

    2015 CR Act, Schedule 8, Part 1, 47B (1).

  47. 47.

    Schedule 8, Part 2, Enterprise Act 2002, Sect. 15(2)(b).

  48. 48.

    2015 CR Act, Schedule 8, Part 1, 47B (2).

  49. 49.

    2015 CR Act, Schedule 8, Part 1, 47B (4).

  50. 50.

    2015 CR Act, Schedule 8, Part 1, 47B (8).

  51. 51.

    2015 CR Act, Schedule 8, Part 1, 47B (10)-(11).

  52. 52.

    2015 CR Act, Schedule 8, Part 1, 47B (7).

  53. 53.

    Geradin [7] p. 1100.

  54. 54.

    Decision Nr. 2009/C 264/04.

  55. 55.

    Case No: 1266/7/7/16.

  56. 56.

    Yalabık [17].

  57. 57.

    Merricks v Mastercard Incorporated & Others [2019] EWCA Civ 674.

  58. 58.

    Cauffman et al. [4] p. 3.

  59. 59.

    Judgment of the Court (First Chamber) 14 April 2016 in Joined Cases C-381/14 and C-385/14.

  60. 60.

    https://www.fricore.eu/db/cases/spain-commercial-court-n-9-barcelona-27-june-2014-no-72213-d2.

  61. 61.

    Hess et al. [9]. pp. 258., 261-262.

  62. 62.

    Hess et al. [9] pp. 271-272.

  63. 63.

    Judgment of the Court (First Chamber) 26 April 2012 in Case C-472/10.

  64. 64.

    Judgment of the Court (Fifth Chamber) 21 December 2016 Case C-119/15.

  65. 65.

    Hess et al. [9] pp. 270-271.

  66. 66.

    Report from The Commission to the European Parliament, The Council and the European Economic and Social Committee on the implementation of the Commission Recommendation of 11 June 2013 on common principles for injunctive and compensatory collective redress mechanisms in the Member States concerning violations of rights granted under Union law (2013/396/EU) para 1.

  67. 67.

    Representative actions to protect the collective interests of consumers. Available at: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2019/637978/EPRS_BRI(2019)637978_EN.pdf.

  68. 68.

    https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52018DC0040 In some Member States collective injunctions are available horizontally (BG, DK, LT, NL, SE) or in other specific areas, mainly competition (HU, LU, ES), environment (FR, HU, PT, SI, ES), employment (HU, ES) or anti-discrimination (HR, FR, ES).

    Compensatory collective redress is available in 19 Member States (AT, BE, BG, DE, DK, FI, FR, EL, HU, IT, LT, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, ES, SE, UK) but in over half of them it is limited to specific sectors, mainly to consumer claims.

  69. 69.

    Representative actions to protect the collective interests of consumers. Available at: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2019/637978/EPRS_BRI(2019)637978_EN.pdf 5. p.

  70. 70.

    In comparison with Directive 2009/22/EC.

  71. 71.

    (7) Provision.

  72. 72.

    The report emphases, that there is a diverse application of this principle in the Member States where compensatory collective redress mechanisms are available. There are 13 Member States (AT, FI, FR, DE, EL, HU, IT, LT, MT, PL, RO, ES, SE) that exclusively apply the “opt-in” principle in their national collective redress schemes. There are 4 Member States (BE, BG, DK, UK) that apply both the “opt-in” and the “opt-out” principle, depending on the type of action or the specifics of the case, while 2 Member States (NL and PT) apply only the “opt-out” principle. Also In. para. Report.2.3.1.

  73. 73.

    Report 2.3.1.

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Correspondence to Blanka Szupera.

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The article is a significantly revised version of the authors’ paper submitted to Semi-final C of the THEMIS Competition organised by the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN) in June 2018. The content of the article is entirely academic and does not in any way reflect the position of ERA, or that of Hungary’s National Office for the Judiciary.

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Szupera, B., Bánk Varga, L., Gábri, A. et al. Towards a harmonised collective redress mechanism for the private enforcement of EU competition law. ERA Forum 21, 267–281 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12027-020-00612-y

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Keywords

  • Collective redress mechanism
  • Competition law
  • Procedural autonomy
  • Effectiveness
  • Private enforcement