Damages actions for breach of the EC antitrust rules

The European Commission has presented last 2nd april 2008 a Communication related to the damages actions for breach of the EC antitrust rules in a White paper.

Any citizen or business who suffers harm as a result of a breach of EC antitrust rules (Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty) must be able to claim reparation from the party who caused the damage. This right of victims to compensation is guaranteed by Community law, as the European Court of Justice recalled in 2001 and 2006

Some of the proposed measures and policy choices are:

  • Standing: indirect purchasers and collective redress
  • Access to evidence: disclosure inter partes
  • Binding effect of NCA decisions
  • Fault requirement

The Commission encourages Member States to work in this area and:

  • Design procedural rules fostering settlements, as a way to reduce costs.
  • Set court fees in an appropriate manner so that they do not become a disproportionate disincentive to antitrust damages claims.
  • Give national courts the possibility of issuing cost orders derogating, in certain justified cases, from the normal cost rules, preferably upfront in the proceedings. Such cost orders would guarantee that the claimant, even if unsuccessful, would not have to bear all costs incurred by the other party.

Comments for this White Paper can be sent, by 15 July 2008, by e-mail to: comp-damages-actions@ec.europa.eu or by post to:
European Commission
Directorate-General for Competition, Unit A 5
Damages actions for breach of the EC antitrust rules
B-1049 Brussels.

What is a White Papers

White papers are documents containing proposals for Community action in a specific area. They sometimes follow a green paper published to launch a consultation process at European level. While green papers set out a range of ideas presented for public discussion and debate, white papers contain an official set of proposals in specific policy areas and are used as vehicles for their development.