Die Berücksichtigung der Anspruchsentwertung im Zeitablauf bei Schadensersatz wegen Verstößen gegen EU-Kartellrecht - eine rechtsvergleichende Studie - (Approaches to Considering the Devaluation of Monetary Claims for Damages from Infringements of EU Competition Law - A Comparative Law Study)
Rabel Journal of Comparative and International Private Law (RabelsZ), Vol. 77, No. 3, pp. 504-554, 2013
52 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2013 Last revised: 5 Jun 2014
Date Written: July 1, 2013
According to ECJ case law, victims of infringements of EU competition law must be able to seek compensation for actual loss and for loss of profit plus interest. The interest element is very important because proceedings are often lengthy and claims for monetary damages are subject to nominalism, leading to a devaluation of the amounts. This paper analyses the respective rules under English, French and German law, examines whether they meet European law requirements and contrasts the European approach with the US approach.
The article finds that, except for US federal law, all countries provide for lump-sum prejudgment interest, albeit at considerably differing rates and excluding compound interest. The starting point is usually subject to judicial discretion, and is fixed only in German law. Inflation is never an explicit determinant of the statutory interest rate, and is not always covered under normal economic conditions. However, the claimant may always prove actual interest payments or losses on a case-by-case basis. Furthermore, in France and the US and especially for corporate claimants, inflation can implicitly be offset by damages for lost business opportunities.
The variety of national approaches to compensate for the "cost of time" is as such consistent with EU law, which - contrary to widespread opinion - does not prescribe prejudgment interest as the only permissible option. However, insofar as it is the primary instrument, the principle of effectiveness requires coverage of the inflation rate. De lege ferenda, harmonisation would offer some advantages, but require considerable intervention in national civil law systems.
An EU-US comparison reveals that whereas EU Member States try to adequately compensate the "cost of time" in each case, US federal law contents itself with covering up devaluation with treble damages, although some state laws may occasionally provide for prejudgment interest. Notwithstanding, the practical results converge considerably.
This article is published in this Research Paper Series with the permission of the rights owner, Mohr Siebeck. All full-text Rabel Journal articles are available via pay-per-view or subscription at IngentaConnect, a provider of digital journals on the Internet.
Keywords: competition law, antitrust law, comparative law, actions for damages, interest, Manfredi, Courage, Europe, United States, Germany, France, United Kingdom, principle of effectiveness
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation