EU Competition Enforcement and Human Rights

EU Competition Enforcement and Human Rights

Arianna Andreangeli

This book discusses the procedural rights enjoyed by those being investigated under Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty and of the Merger Control Regulation, and their right to challenge the Commission’s decision in the Community Courts. It further assesses how their rights to ‘due process’ in competition proceedings before the European Commission comply with the notion of ‘administrative fairness’ enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, in accordance with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

Chapter 2: The Right to be Heard in EC Competition Proceedings between ‘Administrative Due Process’ and a Right to a ‘Fair Trial’

Arianna Andreangeli

Subjects: law - academic, competition and antitrust law, european law, human rights, politics and public policy, human rights


INTRODUCTION This chapter seeks to examine the discipline of the right to be heard in antitrust and merger proceedings before the European Commission and to discuss its compliance with the standards provided by the European Convention on Human Rights with respect to administrative procedures having a civil or criminal character. After having investigated the genesis of the right to be heard as a general principle of EC law embodied in the ‘constitutional traditions’ common to the Member States, we will consider the corresponding requirements laid down in the ECHR. Thereafter, the examination will concentrate on highlighting areas of similarity and difference as well as issues of concern for the compliance of the right to a hearing in competition proceedings before the Commission with the European Convention standards. The chapter will conclude that, although the right to be heard appears to be sufficiently established in the context of the EC competition enforcement, there are still significant problems concerning its effectiveness especially in the framework for merger control, given its tight deadlines, as well as more generally with respect to the completeness of the statement of objections and the involvement of the Hearing Officer in the context of Articles 81–82 EC Treaty cases. 1. THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD IN EC COMPETITION PROCEEDINGS: FROM THE ‘GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF LAW’ TO THE IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS 1.1. ‘Audi Alteram Partem’: the Foundations of the Right to a Hearing in EC Law The standards of ‘administrative fairness’ in force in EC law are in significant...

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