ASCOLA Competition Law series
Edited by Roger Zäch, Andreas Heinemann and Andreas Kellerhals
Chapter 11: Private Enforcement in Europe
Andreas Heinemann* INTRODUCTION Starting Point When we talk about the main topics of competition law development in Europe, private enforcement certainly is one of them. In Europe, private enforcement always has been a subject of strong interest in theory, but of minor importance in practice. There have been some exceptions: It occurred regularly that defendants pleaded the antitrust nullity of contractual obligations (the so-called Eurodefence as far as the violation of European competition law is alleged). And in some countries, special types of action have been pursued on the plaintiff’s side, e.g. actions for delivery in cases of a refusal to deal. Recently, however, things are about to change. In the wake of the vitamin cartel, actions for damages have been pursued in a couple of EU Member States (and of course in other parts of the world). Generally speaking, compensatory claims have made their entrance into court practice, at least in some European countries. The German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) has counted 300 damage claims in antitrust matters in Germany since 2005, with upward tendency.1 1.2 Recent Developments This development has several reasons. Public awareness has increased. Although there have been particularly blatant cartels in the past, the strengthening of sanctions seems to have contributed to this effect. One consequence is that victims of competition law violations do not accept * Professor of Law, Member of the board of the Europa Institute, University of Zurich, Switzerland. 1 See the indications in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of 7 July 2008, p. 13....
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