Consumers' Access to EU Competition Law Procedures: Outer and Inner Limits
29 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2015
Date Written: December 9, 2013
Enforcement of competition law affects consumers’ economic interests, as part of the public interests EU competition law protects. Therefore, consumers ought to be involved in the respective enforcement procedures. Against this normative background, we analyse consumers’ access to the public enforcement by the Commission; we assess whether and how the formal role they are assigned during this procedure and the way access is defined enable consumers to protect their economic interests. We identify outer and inner limits to consumers’ access to competition enforcement procedures, arising from the Commission's discretion in handling complaints and in defining access to information. We critically evaluate those limits against the contention that the enforcement of competition law rules, and the way it is pursued by administrative actors, ought to be guided by the public interests inherent in EU competition law.
Keywords: EU competition law, consumer protection, procedural rights, public and private enforcement, access to information, participation rights
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