Cartel members only - Revisiting private antitrust policy in Europe

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This paper examines the current European private antitrust enforcement policy. The European Commission’s White Paper of 2008, the unofficial Draft Directive of 2009 and the collective redress consultation of 2011 consider a facilitated access to private actions for all types of antitrust violations under articles 101 and 102 TFEU in order to effectively compensate the victims of anticompetitive conduct. Assuming that changes are necessary, the paper argues that it might be worthwhile to limit this policy to damages claims against hardcore violations such as cartels. This suggestion is based on two main arguments. Firstly, the current European private antitrust policy probably underestimates the risks of more damages actions against all types of infringements neglecting insights from the economic analysis of law. Secondly, a revised approach is not only in line with the thinking that underpins the reform but also addresses an actual need as revealed by a comparison of litigation data from different jurisdictions. Refining the European private antitrust policy, it is argued that a focus on hard-core anticompetitive constraints such as price fixing would mitigate the potential for a strategic use of antitrust litigation and reduce the likelihood that the reform of European antitrust damages actions will lead to negative outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-657
Number of pages31
JournalInternational and Comparative Law Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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