Alternative Approaches to Sentencing in Cartel Cases: The European Union, Ireland and the United States

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Series Details Volume 9, Number 2, Pages 341-382
Publication Date May 2013
ISSN 1744-1056
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"Cartel enforcement is typically the top priority of competition agencies around the world. An important, indeed crucial, aspect of cartel enforcement is ensuring that the sentences imposed on convicted individuals and firms are appropriate and proportionate. These sentences will be determined by, inter alia, the provisions of the legislation, whether competition law is civil or criminal, whether it applies to individuals and/or firms, whether it uses sentencing or other guidelines, and the degree of discretion accorded the sentencing authority, whether a court or an administrative body.

In this paper we outline, review, compare and contrast the approach to sentencing in cartel cases in three jurisdictions, Ireland, the US and the EU, that share some common characteristics, but in other respects are quite different. We do not consider the approaches employed in these three jurisdictions in the abstract, but rather use the facts of the Citroen cartel case to illustrate the implications of the different approaches. The purpose of the paper is to determine whether, using this comparative approach, insights can gained that will further enhance cartel enforcement.

The paper is divided into six sections including the introduction. Section B sets out the facts of the Citroen cartel case, which was successfully prosecuted in Ireland against individuals and firms, leading to fines and jail sentences, albeit suspended. Next, attention is turned to the approach to sentencing in cartel cases in Ireland (Section B), the US (Section C) and the EU (Section D), both in general and using the facts of the Citroen cartel case. The detailed application of the US and EU approaches to the Citroen case are available on request from the authors. Section E concludes."
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