'Human Rights' Protection for Corporate Antitrust Defendants: Are We Not Going Overboard?

19 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2014

Date Written: February 2, 2014

Abstract

There seems to be a clear trend of increased protection of ‘corporate human rights’ and, more specifically, due process rights (or procedural fairness) in the field of enforcement of competition law. To a large extent, that trend is based on the uncritical extension of human rights protection to corporate defendants by a process of simple assimilation of corporate and individual defendants. This paper briefly explores the rationale behind the creation of due process rights when the individual is the beneficiary of such protection. It then goes on to critically assess if the same need exists for the extension of those protections to corporate defendants, particularly in the field of competition law or antitrust enforcement. It concludes with some warnings concerning the diminishing effectiveness of competition law prohibitions and of human law protection that can result from an overstretched conception of due process protection in this area of EU economic law.

From a substantive perspective, the paper submits that the extension of human rights to corporations cannot be uncritical and should not be completely symmetrical to that for human beings; but that it rather needs to be necessarily adapted to their circumstances. To put it more bluntly, it is suggested that in the field of the enforcement of economic law, administrative law procedures should be sound and there should clearly be a strong system of judicial review in place, but corporations should not have access to broader constitutional or human rights protections and any perceived shortcomings in the design and application of those procedures should remain within the sphere of regulatory reform.

Keywords: due process, procedural fairness, good administration, corporate human rights, human rights, competition law, antitrust law, enforcement, effectiveness

JEL Classification: K21, K23, K42

Suggested Citation

Sanchez-Graells, Albert and Marcos, Francisco, 'Human Rights' Protection for Corporate Antitrust Defendants: Are We Not Going Overboard? (February 2, 2014). University of Leicester School of Law Research Paper No. 14-04. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2389715 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2389715

Albert Sanchez-Graells (Contact Author)

University of Bristol - School of Law ( email )

Wills Memorial Building
Queen's Road Clifton
Bristol, BS8 1RJ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.howtocrackanut.com/

Francisco Marcos

IE Law School ( email )

Castellón de la Plana 8
Madrid, Madrid 28006
Spain

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