Competition Law and Public Service in the European Union and the United States

Antitrust Source, Vol. 5, November 2005

5 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2008

See all articles by Jim Rossi

Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Date Written: December 21, 2008


This is a review of The Limits of Competition Law: Markets and Public Services (Oxford 2005), by Tony Prosser, a Professor of Public Law at the University of Bristol, England. When competition laws and other public service principles are in tension, can courts avoid a collision or will it be necessary to pick a winner? Prosser's analysis pays particular attention to public service obligations and their implications for the regulation of state monopoly in the European Union, drawing interesting and important connections between antitrust principles in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, specifically France and Italy. Although the notions of sovereignty that predominate in the EU differ fundamentally from those of federalism in the United States, Prosser's discussion parallels familiar American debates about the scope of defenses for regulated industries under antitrust laws. State-sponsored public service laws can serve important goals, as Prosser recognizes, but this review argues that an extension of his frame can also give courts grounds to recognize when state or industry claims of public service goals values are unjustified.

Keywords: Antitrust, Trade Regulation, Consumer Protection, Federalism, Public Utilities, Monopoly, Administrative Law, State and Local Regulation

JEL Classification: F10, H77, K21, K23

Suggested Citation

Rossi, Jim, Competition Law and Public Service in the European Union and the United States (December 21, 2008). Antitrust Source, Vol. 5, November 2005, Available at SSRN:

Jim Rossi (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Ave S
Nashville, TN 37203-5724
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6153436620 (Phone)

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