Convergence of Procedural Standards in the European Competition Proceedings
2012 8(3) Competition Law Review 255-283
29 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2013
Date Written: 2012
In the article I argue that there is a need for the greater convergence of European procedural standards applicable in competition proceedings before the European Commission and competition proceedings before the National Competition Authorities. In order to prove this I use three main arguments. To begin with, I show that the differences in procedural standards applicable in the case of these two proceedings exist and influence the level of protection of entities participating in these proceedings. In this respect, I conduct the analysis of the EU and Polish competition procedure and I conclude that Polish competition procedure offers a lower level of protection of procedural rights. Additionally, I observe that in the EU free circulation of evidence among the members of European Competition Network takes place despite the differences in procedures that are used when collecting this evidence. I analyse also critically the rules governing allocation of cases in the ECN. Next, I show that the applicability of Article 6 of the ECHR to both the proceedings before the European Commission and the proceedings before the NCAs require the recognition and observance of the similar procedural standards. I argue the introduction of such standards is indispensable as the competition proceedings concern criminal accusations in the sense of Article 6 of ECHR. Finally, I observe the recognition and observance of similar procedural standards in competition proceedings is the consequence of binding character of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. In the conclusions I discuss how a convergence of procedural standards may be achieved.
Keywords: competition proceedings, procedural standards, enforcement of competition law, antitrust, right of defence, procedural fairness, National Competition Authorities, European Competition Network, European Convention on Human Rights, Charter of Fundamental Rights
JEL Classification: L40, K21, K40, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation