Commission acting as plaintiff in cases of private enforcement of EU competition law: Otis

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Series Details Volume 50, Number 4, Pages 1105-1117
Publication Date August 2013
ISSN 0165-0750
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The decision discussed here stems from a request for a preliminary ruling submitted by the Rechtbank van Koophandel te Brussel (Brussels Commercial Court).

The relevance of the Otis judgment is twofold: on the one hand, the EU took the opportunity to confirm its previous case law concerning the compatibility of the enforcement practices of EU competition law with human rights, and in particular with the principle of "equality of arms" between plaintiff and respondent in court proceedings. Secondly, the Otis judgment represents an important contribution to the development of "private enforcement" of EU competition law: For the first time, the ECJ recognized the possibility that the European Commission, as representative of the EU institutions, could start legal proceedings in a national court in order to obtain compensation for the damage suffered by the European Union due to a cartel agreement previously sanctioned under Article 101(1) TFEU (ex 81(1) EC).

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