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EU COMPETITION LAW ENFORCEMENT: IS BRUSSELS I SUITED TO DEALING WITH ALL THE CHALLENGES?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 February 2012

Mihail Danov
Affiliation:
Senior Lecturer in Law, Brunel University.

Abstract

There are arguments indicating that Brussels I could be applicable to cross-border competition law proceedings before a National Competition Authority located in one Member State and private EU competition law proceedings before another Member State court. However, an analysis of the current private international law framework appears to indicate that Brussels I is not well suited to deal with the difficulties that could arise in this context. Given the fact that, in the new proposal for a regulation on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments there is no indication that special jurisdictional bases for competition law actions in the successor to Brussels I are on anyone's agenda, an option for a reform may be setting up a new and special regulation to be applicable with regard to EU competition law claims only.

Type
Article
Copyright
Copyright © British Institute of International and Comparative Law 2012

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References

1 Case 127/73 BRT v SABAM [1974] ECR 51, paras 14–16; Case C–282/95 P Guerin Automobiles v Commission [1997] ECR I–1503, para 39; Case C–453/99 Courage Ltd v Crehan [2001] ECR I–6297, para 23.

2 See Recital 4 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 of 16 December 2002 on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in arts 81 and 82 of the Treaty [2003] OJ L1/1.

3 Arts 11–14 of Council Regulation 1/2003. See further, Brammer, S, Co-operation Between National Competition Agencies in the Enforcement of EC Competition Law (Hart Publishing 2009)Google Scholar.

4 Commission Notice on Cooperation within the Network of Competition Authorities [2004] OJ C101/43.

5 Brammer (n 3) 153–61.

6 See art 5 of Council Regulation 1/2003; Commission Notice (n 4) para 5. Parallel action by two or three NCAs may be appropriate in some cases. In such a scenario, the authorities dealing with the case may decide to designate one of them as a lead authority and to delegate some tasks to that designated lead authority. See ibid paras 12–13. See also Brammer (n 3) 159.

7 See Provimi v Aventis Animal Nutrition [2003] EWHC 961 (Comm), [2003] ECC 29.

8 Komninos, A, ‘Effect of Commission Decisions on Private Antitrust Litigation: Setting the Story Straight’ (2007) 44 CMLRev 1387, 1426Google Scholar; A Komninos, ‘Relationship Between Public and Private Enforcement: Quod Dei Deo, quod Caesaris Caesari’ (16th Annual EU Competition Law and Policy Workshop—Integrating Public and Private Enforcement of Competition Law: Implications for Courts and Agencies, Florence, 17–18 June 2011) <http://ssrn.com/abstract=1870723> (a version of the latter paper will be published in P Lowe and M Marquis (eds), European Competition Law Annual 2011: Integrating Public and Private Enforcement of Competition Law: Implications for Courts and Agencies (Hart Publishing 2012) (forthcoming). See also Case C–360/09 Pfleiderer AG v Bundeskartellamt [2011] 5 CMLR 219, Opinion of AG Mazák, para 40.

9 Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters [2001] OJ L12/1 (‘Brussels I’).

10 M Monti, ‘Competition Law Reform’ (CBI Conference on Competition Law Reform, London, 12 June 2000) <http://ec.europa.eu/comm/competition/speeches/text/sp2000_008_en.html>.

11 Brammer (n 3) 82.

12 See art 10(1) of Council Regulation (EC) No 1206/2001 of 28 May 2001 on cooperation between the courts of the member states in the taking of evidence in civil or commercial matters [2001] OJ L174/1 (Evidence Regulation).

13 It seems that as a result of the enhanced private antitrust enforcement reform, private international law has a vital role to play if EU competition rules are to be enforced effectively in cross-border court proceedings. See Danov, M, Jurisdiction and Judgments in Relation to EU Competition Law Claims (Hart Publishing 2010)Google Scholar. A conference entitled ‘International Antitrust Litigation: Conflict of Laws and Coordination’ took place in Brussels (26 March 2010): for information, see J Basedow, S Francq and L Idot (eds), International Antitrust Litigation: Conflict of Laws and Coordination (Hart Publishing 2012) (forthcoming). The issue of the recognition of an NCA decision in civil proceedings of another Member State was recently discussed by J Basedow, ‘Recognition of Foreign Decisions Within the European Competition Network’ in J Basedow, J Philipp Terhechte and L Tichy, Private Enforcement of Competition Law (Nomos 2011) 169, 172–74, 176, 177.

14 Compare arts 13 and 15(3) of Regulation 1/2003.

15 Case 29/76 LTU v Eurocontrol [1976] ECR 1541. See also Collins, L and others (eds), Dicey, Morris and Collins on the Conflict of Laws (14th edn, Sweet & Maxwell 2006) 314Google Scholar.

16 See Eurocontrol (n 15) para 5.

17 See Commission Notice on the Co-operation between the Commission and the Courts of the EU Member States in the Application of Articles 81 and 82 [2004] OJ C101/04, 3. See also Commission (EC), Damages Actions for Breach of EC Antitrust Rules (Green Paper) COM(2005) 672 final, para 2.8; Office of Fair Trading, ‘Response to the European Commission's Green Paper, Damages Actions for Breach of the EC Antitrust Rules’ May 2006 OFT 844 <http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/reports/oft_response_to_consultations/oft844.pdf>.

18 di Brozolo, R, ‘Antitrust Claims: Why Exclude Them from The Hague Jurisdiction and Judgment Convention’ (2004) 25 ECLR 780, 783Google Scholar.

19 [2007] EWHC 332 (Ch), [2007] Bus LR 705. See also Provimi (n 7).

20 eg in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Romania, the UK.

21 eg in Austria and Ireland.

22 eg Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Romania, the UK.

23 Forrester, IS, ‘Due Process in EC Competition Cases: A Distinguished Institution with Flawed Procedures’ (2009) 34 ELRev 817Google Scholar; J Killick and P Berghe, ‘This is Not the Time to Be Tinkering with Regulation 1/2003—It is Time for Fundamental Reform—Europe Should Have Change We Can Believe in’ (2010) Competition Law Review 259. The due process issue may receive renewed attention after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. See art 6(1) TEU. See also art 6(1) ECHR and art 47(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union [2000] OJ C364/1. See further, J Kuhling, ‘Fundamental Rights’ in A von Bogdandy and J Bast (eds), Principles of European Constitutional Law (2nd edn, Hart Publishing 2010) 479–514; Craig, P, The Lisbon Treaty: Law, Politics and Treaty Reform (OUP, 2010) 193245CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

24 Stroskrubb, E, Civil Procedure and EU Law: A Policy Area Uncovered (OUP 2008) 10CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

25 See Cane, P, Administrative Tribunals and Adjudication (OUP 2009)Google Scholar.

26 ibid 89.

27 Komninos, A, EC Private Antitrust Enforcement: Decentralised Application of EC Competition Law by National Courts (Hart Publishing 2008) 6Google Scholar.

28 Cane (n 25) 72.

29 Case C–53/03 Synetairismos Farmakopion Aitolias & Akarnanis (Syfait) v GlaxoSmithKline [2005] ECR I–4609, para 37. Compare Case C–67/91, Asociacion Espanola de Banca Privada [1992] ECR I–4785.

30 Jenard Report OJ [1979] C59/1, 9; Schlosser Report OJ [1979] C59/71, para 23.

31 Jenard Report (n 30) 9.

32 Schlosser Report (n 30) para 23.

33 Eurocontrol (n 15) para 4.

34 ibid.

35 Synetairismos (n 29) Opinion of AG Jacobs, para 45.

36 Compare Eurocontrol (n 15) para 4.

37 A Albors-Llorens, ‘Consumer Law, Competition Law and the Europeanization of Private Law’ in F Cafaggi (ed), The Institutional Framework of European Private Law (OUP 2006) 244, 260.

38 Section IIA above.

39 Commission (EC), Damages Actions for Breach of the EC Antitrust Rules (White Paper) COM(2008) 165 final, para 2.3.

40 Le Compte v Belgium (1982) 4 EHRR 1. See also Wils, WPJ, Principles of European Antitrust Enforcement (Hart Publishing 2005) 4647Google Scholar; Forrester (n 23) 821.

41 Wils (n 40) 47; Forrester (n 23) 821.

42 Art 34(1) and (2) of Brussels I. The issue is further discussed in section IVA below.

43 Wils (n 40) 88.

44 See Case C–7/98 Krombach v Bamberski [2000] ECR I–1395. See also Fawcett, J, ‘The Impact of Article 6(1) of the ECHR on Private International Law’ (2007) 56 ICLQ 1CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Beaumont, P and Johnston, E, ‘Can Exequatur Be Abolished in Brussels I Whilst Retaining a Public Policy Defence?’ (2010) 6 Journal of Private International Law 249CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

45 See section IIIB below. See also Commission (EC), Damages Actions (n 39) para 2.3.

46 Enron Coal Services Ltd (in liquidation) v English Welsh & Scottish Railway Ltd [2011] EWCA Civ 2, [2011] UKCLR 303 [150].

47 Synetairismos (n 29) para 37. Compare Asociacion Espanola de Banca Privada (n 29).

48 Recital 5 of the Evidence Regulation.

49 See Proposal for a Council Directive on the service in the member states of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil and commercial matters COM(1999) 219 final 10. See also Stroskrubb (n 24) 10.

50 Commission (EC), Damages Actions (n 39) para 2.3.

51 Synetairismos (n 29) Opinion of AG Jacobs, para 45.

52 See art 22 of Regulation 1/2003.

53 M Araujo, ‘The Respect of Fundamental Rights Within the European Network of Competition Authorities’ in BE Hawk (ed), International Antitrust Law and Policy: Fordham Corporate Law Institute: Annual Proceedings 2004 (Juris Publishing 2005) 511, 524–25.

54 ibid 512.

55 The TEU Protocol on the internal market and competition.

56 Wils, WPJ, Efficiency and Justice in European Antitrust Enforcement (Hart Publishing 2008) 20Google Scholar. See also art 6 TEU; Case C–292/97 Kjell Karlsson and Others [2000] ECR I–2760, para 37.

57 Case 85/87 Dow Benelux v Commission [1989] ECR 3137, para 26. See also Case 322/81 Michelin v Commission [1983] ECR 3461, para 7.

58 Araujo (n 53) 530.

59 See art 1(2) of the Evidence Regulation.

60 See section IIA above. See also Danov (n 13) 184–86; Eurocontrol (n 15) paras 4–5.

61 See sections 46 and 47 of the Competition Act 1998. The 1998 Act goes further and lists the ‘appealable decisions’. Schedule 4 of the Enterprise Act 2002 permits most decisions of the CAT to be enforceable by registration at the High Court in England and Wales. By virtue of those provisions, the decision becomes enforceable in the same way as a judgment of the High Court. See also Whish, R, Competition Law (6th edn, OUP 2008) 426–36Google Scholar; section IV below.

62 Case 144/86 Gubisch Maschinen-fabrik v Palumbo [1987] ECR 4861, para 8.

63 ‘A pending lawsuit’ (Latin). See also McLachlan, C, Pendens, Lisin International Litigation (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 2009) 23Google Scholar.

64 Gubisch (n 62) para 14.

65 A Briggs and P Rees, Civil Jurisdiction and Judgements (5th edn, Informa 2009) 314; J Fawcett and JM Carruthers (eds), Cheshire, North & Fawcett Private International Law (14th edn, OUP 2008) 305. See also Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance v MK Digital FZE (Cyprus) [2005] EWHC 1408 (Comm) ILPr 51 (QBD (Comm)), para 66 (reversed without reference to this point), [2006] EWCA Civ 629, [2006] 2 Lloyd's Rep 110 (CA).

66 Case C–406/92 Tatry [1994] ECR I–5439, para 39; Case C–39/02 Mærsk Olie & Gas A/S v Firma M de Haan en W de Boer [2004] ECR I–9657, para 38 (Court of Justice, Third Chamber).

67 Tatry (n 66) paras 41–43; Case C–111/01 Gantner Electronic GmbH v Basch Exploitatie Maatschappij BV [2003] ECR I–4207, para 25 (Court of Justice, Fifth Chamber). See also Gubisch (n 62); Case C–351/89 Overseas Union Insurance Ltd v New Hampshire Insurance Co [1991] ECR I–3317. See further, Cheshire, North & Fawcett (n 65) 305–10; Briggs and Rees (n 65) 314–16.

68 Briggs and Rees (n 65) 315.

69 Gantner Electronic (n 67) para 31.

70 Case C–341/93 Danvaern Production A/S v Schuhfabriken Otterbeck GmbH & Co [1995] ECR I–2053.

71 See Enron (n 46) para 150.

72 The ‘Linda.’ [1988] 1 Lloyd's Rep 175 (QBD (Admlty)) 179 (per Sheen J).

73 ibid paras 32, 52.

74 Sarrio v Kuwait Investment Authority [1999] 1 AC 32 (HL) 39 (per Lord Saville). See also A Briggs, ‘Private International Law’ (1997) 68 British YBIntlL 331, 339–42; J Harris, ‘Related Actions and the Brussels Convention’ (1998) Llyods Martime and Commercial Law Quarterly 145.

75 Gascoine v Pyrah [1994] ILPr 82 (CA), para 44; See also ET Plus SA v Welter [2005] EWHC 2115 (Comm), [2006] 1 Lloyd's Rep 215, para 59.

76 See Provimi (n 7) [47].

77 ibid [45]–[46]. See further, Danov (n 13) 51–54.

78 Herzog, PE, ‘Brussels and Lugano, Should You Race to the Courthouse or Race for a Judgment?’ (1995) 43 AmJCompL 379, 381–84Google Scholar.

79 Case C–116/02 Erich Gasser v MISAT [2003] ECR I–14693, Opinion of AG Philip Leger para 68. Compare Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Europe Ltd v Dow Deutschland Inc [2010] EWCA Civ 864, [2010] 2 CLC 104. See also Hartley, TC, ‘The European Union and the Systematic Dismantling of the Common Law of Conflict of Laws’ (2005) 54 ICLQ 813CrossRefGoogle Scholar; P de Vareilles-Sommieres (ed), Forum Shopping in the European Judicial Area (Hart Publishing 2007).

80 Compare the approach in respect of allocation of cases between the NCAs. See Commission Notice (n 4) para 8.

81 Section IIA above.

82 Wils (n 40) 89.

83 Wils (n 40) 90.

84 See art 6(1) TEU. See also: art 6(1) ECHR and art 47(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union [2000] OJ C364/1.

85 Commission Staff Working Paper, Annex to the Green Paper, Damages Actions for Breach of the EC Antitrust Rules SEC(2005) 1732, para 8.

86 Basedow, J (ed), Private Enforcement of EC Competition Law (Kluwer 2007) 12Google Scholar; Komninos (n 27) 7–8.

87 Komninos (n 27) 8.

88 See section IIB above.

89 Commission (EC), Damages Actions (n 39) para 1.2.

90 See U Boge, ‘Leniency programs and the private enforcement of European competition law’ in Basedow (n 86) 217, 218.

91 White Paper on Modernisation of the Rules Implementing Articles 85 and 86 of the EC Treaty, Commission Programme No 99/027, para 60. See Komninos (n 27) 77; Brammer (n 3) 426–36.

92 It has been submitted that ‘Article 10 EC [now Article 4(3) TEU], while not requiring Member States to automatically and mutually recognise the legal force of all decisions which are adopted to implement Article 81 or 82 EC [now Articles 101 and 102 TFEU], can certainly be construed in such a way as to impose a duty on Member States to recognise the validity of foreign NCA decision on a case-by-case basis. This means that recognition would take place only when a request is made by the Member State which adopted the decision and only by the NCA of the Member State to which the request is submitted’ (Brammer (n 3) 428–29). Even if this interpretation were correct, the effect of such recognition would be somewhat limited, as the foreign NCA would only be recognized by the local NCA being part of the same ECN.

93 ibid.

94 Commission (EC), Damages Actions (n 39) para 2.3.

95 Komninos (n 27) 119.

96 Groussot, X and Minssen, T, ‘Res Judicata in the Court of Justice Case-law: Balancing Legal Certainty with Legality?’ (2007) 3 European Constitutional Law Review 385CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

97 Jenard Report (n 30) 43.

98 Case C–414/92 Solo Kleinmotoren v Boch [1994] ECR I–2237, para 17. Compare Jenard Report (n 30) 42. See also Schlosser Report (n 30) para 23.

99 See Joined cases 209–213/84 Ministere Public v Lucase Asjes [1986] ECR 1425, para 55. See also BRT (n 1) 1.

100 eg Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Romania, the UK.

101 Compare The Sennar (No 2) [1985] 1 WLR 490 (HL) [499].

102 eg Austria and Ireland. In other countries, the task of applying arts 81 and 82 is entrusted to quasi-judicial bodies, which are only from an organizational point of view part of the NCA (eg Germany).

103 See Cahill, D, Cooke, JD and Wils, W (eds) The Modernisation of EU Competition Law Enforcement: FIDE 2004 National Reports (CUP 2004)Google Scholar. See also Kerse, C and Khan, N, EC Antitrust Procedure (5th edn, Sweet & Maxwell 2005) 260Google Scholar.

104 See section IIA above.

105 Eurocontrol (n 15) paras 4–5.

106 ibid para 4.

107 See section IIA above.

108 Jenard Report (n 30) 42. See also Schlosser Report (n 30) para 23.

109 See section 49 of the Competition Act 1998.

110 Commission (EC), Damages Actions (n 39) para 2.3.

111 See section IIA above.

112 Art 34(1) and (2) of Brussels I. See also Krombach (n 44) para 43; Fawcett (n 44) 25; Beaumont and Johnston (n 44) 253–54.

113 Wils (n 40) 88.

114 Krombach (n 44) para 26.

115 See 47(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights; art 6(1) ECHR.

116 Krombach (n 44) paras 39–45.

117 Le Compte v Belgium (1982) 4 EHRR 1. See also: Wils (n 40) 46-47; Forrester (n 23) 821.

118 Wils (n 40) 89.

119 Krombach (n 44) para 42.

120 Art 38 of the Proposal for a Regulation on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters COM(2010) 748/3 (Brussels I Proposal). See further, ibid 5–8.

121 Beaumont and Johnston (n 44) 253.

122 See the Brussels I Proposal 6. See also ibid Recitals 24, 27.

123 Danov (n 13) 200–04.

124 It should be determined whether those judgments entail legal consequences that are mutually exclusive. See Case 145/86 Hoffmann v Krieg [1988] ECR 645, para 22.

125 Section IIIA above. See also Danov (n 13) 124–27.

126 Enron (n 46) [150]. See also section IIIA above; Danov (n 13) 124–27.

127 Case 38/98 Renault v Maxicar [2000] ECR I–2973. Danov (n 13) 192–95.

128 Case C–344/98 Masterfoods v HB Ice Cream [2000] ECR I–11369, para 38. See also Hasselblad v Orbinson [1985] QB 475 (CA) 504; Iberian UK v BPB Industries [1997] EuLR 1 (ChD) 16. See further, Kerse and Khan (n 103) 298.

129 Case C–234/89 Delimitis [1991] ECR I–935.

130 Masterfoods (n 128) para 49.

131 ibid paras 51, 52; Interpreneur Pub Company v Crehan [2006] UKHL 38, [2006] 3 WLR 148 (HL) [64]–[66].

132 Compare Hoffmann (n 124); Case C–78/95 Hendrickman v Magenta Druck & Verlag [1996] ECR I–4943.

133 See also Komninos (n 27); Danov (n 13) 200–04.

134 Crehan (n 131).

135 ibid [69]. See also Danov (n 13) 195–200.

136 Commission (EC), Damages Actions (n 39) para 2.3.

137 Wils (n 40) 89.

138 Crehan (n 131).

139 Eurocontrol (n 15) para 4.

140 Jenard Report (n 30) 42. See also Schlosser Report (n 30) para 23.

141 Commission (EC), Damages Actions (n 39) para 2.3.

142 Synetairismos (n 29) Opinion of AG Jacobs, para 45.

143 Danov (n 13) 119–39.

144 Compare the European approach in respect of allocation of cases between the NCAs. See the Commission Notice (n 4) para 8. See further Danov (n 13) 281–83.

145 Commission Staff Working Paper (n 85) para 8.

146 Basedow (n 86) 1–2; Komninos (n 27) 7–8.

147 See Boge (n 90) 218.

148 COM(2010) 748 final.

149 The author is currently coordinating a research project funded by the European Commission Civil Justice Programme (JLS/2009/JCIV/AG/0034-30-CE-0350182/00-68). The funded project aims to consider answers to the above questions.