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The Use of Settlements in Public Antitrust Enforcement: Objectives and Principles

21 Pages Posted: 21 May 2008 Last revised: 27 Nov 2013

Wouter P. J. Wils

King's College London; European Commission


This paper discusses two general questions concerning the use of settlements in public antitrust enforcement, namely under which conditions the use of settlements contributes to optimal antitrust enforcement, and under which conditions self-incrimination and waivers of procedural rights by settlement candidates are compatible with fundamental rights of defence. The discussion of these general questions will be illustrated with the specific example of the two settlement procedures for the enforcement by the European Commission of the antitrust prohibitions contained in Articles 81 and 82 EC, namely the commitment procedure under Article 9 of Regulation 1/2003, and the new settlement procedure in cartel cases.

Keywords: antitrust, enforcement, plea bargaining, settlement, deterrence, rights of the defence

JEL Classification: K14, K21, K42, L40

Suggested Citation

Wils, Wouter P. J., The Use of Settlements in Public Antitrust Enforcement: Objectives and Principles. World Competition: Law and Economics Review, Vol. 31, No. 3, 2008. Available at SSRN:

Wouter P. J. Wils (Contact Author)

King's College London

Somerset House East Wing
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

European Commission ( email )

Brussels, B-1049

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