In the past few weeks, several National Competition Authorities have faced significant court challenges to the methodology and process they adopt in setting fines. The level at which the fines stand after these successful challenges shows that national judges are setting high standards; and the EU Commission is following this subject very closely.

  • Following a severe court ruling in January 2010, the French Competition Authority has reformed its fining methodology - new fining guidelines were adopted in May 2011.
  • The UK OFT is presently considering to what extent it should revise its fining guidelines following the large reductions in fines granted by the Competition Appeal Tribunal in the construction cartel case, in which various aspects of the OFT's methodology were criticised.
  • The European Commission will itself amend its best practices so that it discloses in the Statement of Objections sufficient information on possible fines to give companies an opportunity to discuss this before a final decision is adopted.
Given that they have substantial powers to impose fines, the European Commission and the National Competition Authorities will undoubtedly continue to improve their practices and coordinate on these issues.

Speakers
Nathalie Jalabert Doury
Gillian Sproul

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