Informations and abstract
Keywords: antitrust, economic analysis of law, class actions, leniency, tort law, damages, public - private enforcement
White Paper on Antitrust Damages Actions: the Years to Come The key role of private enforcement of antitrust rules in complementing public enforcement by competition authorities has been widely acknowledged. Since the actual probability of detecting infringements is low and budget constraints limit the public enforcement systems, the potential benefits of facilitating antitrust damages actions in the EU clearly include: (i) increased corrective justice - i.e. securing that victims of anticompetitive conduct are fully compensated for the loss sustained; (ii) enhanced deterrence - i.e., ensuring that undertakings that violate Community antitrust law completely internalise the negative externalities they impose on society by means of anticompetitive conduct. Against this background, private enforcement of European antitrust laws through private damages actions still lies in a state of total underdevelopment. The European Commission identified possible policy options in the 2005 Green Paper in order to facilitate damages actions for breach of Ec antitrust rules. In 2007, an external impact assessment of the different options and scenarios related to a more effective systems of antitrust private enforcement has been conducted by the Authors of this essay. On 3 April 2008, the European Commission published a White Paper, recommending the adoption of specific legal and procedural mechanisms which might be able to foster the development of private antitrust enforcement while minimizing the costs of such process. In this study we analyze the main reasons which lie behind the Commission's preference for such measures and policy choices, providing also for some hints about interpretative and applicative issues which might arise in the future.