The OECD Report on International Private Enforcement

Officially known as ‘Individual and Collective Private Enforcement of Competition Law: Insights for Mexico in 2018’, this Report was prepared with a view to advise Mexico on how to reform its private enforcement regime. The Report can be found here. Advising Mexico in this regard required the pursuit of a comprehensive overview of international experiences with private competition enforcement – with a focus on Europe and North America, but also looking beyond these regions. This project also required the identification of the various elements that comprise private enforcement regimes around the world, the various forms that each of these elements may take, and how these elements relate to one another. I may of course be mistaken, but I think there is no other work like this in the market. As such, I circulate the Report here because I think it can provide a useful reference for anyone working or interested in private enforcement.

Urszula Jaremba and Laura Lalikova  ‘Effectiveness of Private Enforcement of European Competition Law in Case of Passing-on of Overcharges: Implementation of Antitrust Damages Directive in Germany, France, and Ireland’ (sic) (2018) Journal of European Competition Law & Practice 9(4) 226

The  EU Damages Directive sets out that the goal of private enforcement is compensation – claimants should be neither over- nor under-compensated, which means that the passing on of overcharges can be invoked both as a shield (for the defendant in the proceedings) and as a sword (by indirect purchasers). The authors seeks to determine whether the Directive has been correctly transposed by Member States, and assess how the Directive’s rules on passing on have affected the relative position of the parties and the role of national courts in competition damages claims in the EU. The paper, which can be found here, is structured as follows: First, the paper describes how passing on has been treated under EU law over time. In doing so, the article reviews the CJEU’s case law (mainly Courage and Manfredi) and the Commission’s work leading to the adoption of the Damages Directive. Section 2 briefly deals with the contents EU Damages Directive as regards passing on,…

Matthijs Kuijpers, Tommi Palumbo, Elaine Whiteford and Thomas B Paul on ‘Actions for Damages in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany’ (2018) Journal of European Competition Law & Practice 9(1) 55

This article – which can be found here –  provides an overview of private competition enforcement developments during the past year in the three EU jurisdictions where most such actions are brought. The paper is quite straightforward. Section 2 discusses the legislative developments in each of these jurisdictions, with a focus on the implementation of the EU Damages Directive and on collective redress (i.e. class actions). This section also discusses other recurring topics in follow-on damages litigation, such as the passing-on defence, access to evidence, standard of proof and limitation periods. Section 3 discusses stand-alone damages claims. It concludes that stand-alone claims are rarely successful – with the potential exception of ‘quasi-follow’ on claims, i.e. claims that reflect infringement decisions but which are not addressed to the infringing parties sanctioned by competition authorities, such as in the various instances of credit card litigation I described in previous emails. It further finds that abuse actions (i.e. complaints against powerful companies) are more common…

Walter Hugh Merricks CBE v Mastercard Incorporated and Others [2017] CAT 16

This judgment – which can be found here – concerns the first ever class certification request in an opt-out collective damages claim in the UK. I think this is a very important decision. Class or collective actions allow the aggregation of a large number of small claims for competition damages, and are likely to prove a crucial mechanism for customers seeking to obtain redress for loss caused by a competition infringement. Europe is not familiar with the type of class actions that are typical in North America, and the English courts – and particularly the CAT – are one of the first European courts (if not the first) to have to grapple with the challenges that such claims pose. One very important challenge is class certification, while another is the certification of the class representative. The first opt-out collective claim ever brought in the UK– i.e. Dorothy Gibson v Pride Mobility Products Limited [2017] CAT 9 – ended with the…

Cento Veljanovski ‘The law and economics of pass-on in price fixing cases’ European Competition Law Review (forthcoming)

This paper – which can be found here – deals with the the passing-on defence. Background A bit of context may be in order here. “Passing-on” is the passing of damage suffered by a victim of a cartel to other parties, usually by increasing the price of re-sale of the cartelised goods or of the products for which the cartelised good is an input. Passing on may be invoked by an indirect purchaser in order to claim harm suffered by himself as a result of overcharges on the purchases of products or services from direct customers of the cartelist or from companies which have incorporated goods affected by the infringement into their own products or services: this is passing-on as a “sword”. Alternatively, and more commonly, pass-on may be raised as a defence to claims for damages on the ground that the claimant has incorporated overcharges, or part of them, in its downstream prices of products or services, thus reducing its…