Lessons from America
New Horizons in Law and Economics series
Edited by Jürgen G. Backhaus, Alberto Cassone and Giovanni B. Ramello
Chapter 13: Class Actions in Private Enforcement of EC Antitrust Law: The Commission Green Paper
* Francesco Denozza and Luca Toffoletti 1. THE GREEN PAPER AND THE PRODUCTION OF DETERRENCE The Green Paper of the European Commission, on Damages actions for breach of the EC antitrust rules1 promotes the development of private enforcement of antitrust rules in the European Union. In doing so, the Commission addresses a number of reasons why private suits, and damages actions in particular, are important and need to be incentivised in EC antitrust. Both the functions of compensation and deterrence of damages actions are taken into consideration. As to compensation, the Green Paper contains such a strong statement as the following: ‘it is desirable that victims of competition law violations are able to recover damages for loss suffered, if competition law is to better reach consumers and undertakings and enhance their access to forms of legal action to protect their rights’.2 Deterrence is surely at issue as well: the Commission clearly states that ‘Enhanced private enforcement will (…) increase the incentives of companies to comply with the law, thus helping ensure that markets remain open * An earlier version of this work was presented at the conference ‘Introducing Class Actions in Europe – A Comparative Law and Economics Perspective’, Alessandria, January 26–27, 2007 (Università del Piemonte Orientale, Department of Public Policy and Public Choice- POLIS) 1 December 19, 2005, COM (2005) 672, hereinafter the ‘Green Paper’, with the annexed Commission Staff Working Paper Annex to the Green Paper, hereinafter the ‘Staff Working Paper’ (when not specified, general reference is to the set of...
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