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Soft Law and the Private Enforcement of the EU Competition Rules


Albert Sánchez Graells


University of Leicester - School of Law

July 14, 2010

International Conference on the Private Enforcement of Competition Law, University of Valladolid School of Law, Spain, October 14-15, 2010

Abstract:     
The use of soft law instruments is pervasive in the field of EU competition policy. This poses significant legal challenges derived from the progressive ‘hardening’ of these regulatory tools by the European Courts as a result of the application of the general principles of EU law. The preponderance of soft law instruments might even have expanded after the modernisation and decentralisation of the enforcement of EU competition rules, giving rise to yet more complicated legal puzzles. One of them is the impact that soft law can have on undertakings as a result of its enforcement (or lack of) by national courts of the Member States in the framework of private actions. This paper stresses that soft law instruments have asymmetrical legal effects when they are enforced by the Commission and by national courts. Hence, they create a significant risk for the consistency in the interpretation and enforcement of EU competition law that seems to claim for a revision of current rules before further promoting private actions.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 17

Keywords: soft law, private enforcement, competition law, decentralization, judicial independence, administrative guidance, legal certainty

JEL Classification: K21, K41, K42

working papers series


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Date posted: July 16, 2010 ; Last revised: July 28, 2010

Suggested Citation

Sánchez Graells, Albert, Soft Law and the Private Enforcement of the EU Competition Rules (July 14, 2010). International Conference on the Private Enforcement of Competition Law, University of Valladolid School of Law, Spain, October 14-15, 2010 . Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1639851 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1639851

Contact Information

Albert Sanchez Graells (Contact Author)
University of Leicester - School of Law ( email )
University Road
Leicester LE1 7RH, LE1 7RH
United Kingdom
HOME PAGE: http://www.howtocrackanut.blogspot.co.uk

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