The Law and Economics of Class Actions in Europe
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The Law and Economics of Class Actions in Europe

Lessons from America

Edited by Jürgen G. Backhaus, Alberto Cassone and Giovanni B. Ramello

This well-documented book discusses the power and limitations of class actions with insights and analysis from a panel of distinguished scholars. It pays special attention to the introduction and the applicability of such a legal device in European civil law countries. The book offers a broad legal and economic investigation, drawing insights from US judicial experience and giving a rigorous discussion of both the philosophical and constitutional aspects and the economic mechanisms and incentives set up by class actions.
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Chapter 13: Class Actions in Private Enforcement of EC Antitrust Law: The Commission Green Paper

Francesco Denozza and Luca Toffoletti


* 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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