Fair and Effective Competition Policy in the EU: Which Role for Authorities and Which Role for the Courts After Menarini?

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Series Details Volume 8, Number 2, Pages 283-299
Publication Date May 2012
ISSN 1744-1056
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"From the beginning of the European integration process, the European Commission has played a key role in the enforcement of EU competition law, being charged with investigatory, prosecutorial, adjudicatory and policy-making responsibilities—subject to oversight by the European courts. Many EU Member States have adopted a similar architecture for their national competition laws. This is a model of administrative enforcement, with a corresponding standard of judicial review (legality review) that traditionally has left a large measure of discretion to the administrative authority. Whether this model is compatible with the fundamentals of a fair trial and other principles derived from the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) has long been questioned."
"In September 2011, the Strasburg Court took a new step with its judgment in Menarini Diagnostics. In this case, the ECtHR was faced with a challenge of a fine of €6m imposed by the Italian Competition Authority in 2003 on Menarini, for having fixed prices and allocated the market of certain diagnostic tests for diabetes. Menarini asserted that this fine had to be considered a criminal sanction within the meaning of Article 6 ECHR. Furthermore, Menarini complained that the fine violated the fair trial principles of Article 6 ECHR, given that the Authority’s decision had not been reviewed closely enough by the Italian courts on appeal. Italian competition law being modelled on EU competition law, the outcome of this case promised to have important implications for EU competition law."
Source Link https://doi.org/10.5235/ECJ.8.2.283
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