The Impact of Article 6(1) ECHR on Competition Law Enforcement: A Comparison between France and the United Kingdom
Global Antitrust Review - Journal Issue 1, 2008
21 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2013
Date Written: 2008
The first part of this article deals with the applicability of Article 6 (the fair trial procedure) to competition law enforcement in ECHR law and in domestic laws. The proceedings before competition authorities are clearly within the scope of Article 6(1) ECHR in its criminal aspect. However the jurisprudence of the ECt HR leaves countries a certain amount of discretion in the implementation of the fair trial requirement: They can apply it at the first stage or they can cure any possible defect of the first instance proceedings by providing a correct appeal to a tribunal with full jurisdiction. This discretion is used differently in the two countries under study, England and France. French Courts try to strike a balance between the requirements that have to be complied with at the first stage and those that can be cured by a correct appeal. English Courts appear to offer more flexibility on the crucial point of impartiality. Indeed the main problem in both countries seems to be the combination in one body of the prosecution, judge, and jury functions. Lastly the factors that could have an impact in both countries for the strengthening of procedural safeguards are considered in some detail. It is argued that human rights issues should not be construed as a burden but rather as part of a compliance strategy.
Keywords: competition law, enforcement, human rights, Article 6, right to a fair trial, Judicial Review
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