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Strategies for a European Judicial Network from the Perspective of Competition Policy

Firat Cengiz

In the field of competition policy, decentralisation of enforcement of Articles 81 and 82 EC under the Modernisation Regulation has led to an increase in the powers and jurisdiction of national competition authorities (NCAs) and national courts. While NCAs are closely linked through the European Competition Network, with its rules for case allocation and consistent application of competition law, no such mechanism exists for Member State courts due to the principles of judicial independence and procedural autonomy. Since 2005, the Commission has been actively seeking ways to invigorate actions for damages against violations of Community competition law before the national courts. If the Commission is to succeed in its efforts, national procedural and substantive standards regarding damage awards will play a significant role in Community competition policy. Using the American experience of indirect purchaser actions as an example, the paper will highlight the potential pitfalls emanating from decentralised enforcement by the national courts under diverse standards and lack of effective judicial cooperation mechanisms. It will discuss the existing networks amongst national judiciaries and strategies for the strengthening of such networks. In doing so, it will use the European Competition Network as a model and will critically assess to what extent its mechanisms would fit into a judicial setting. Although the paper focuses on competition policy, its findings have broader relevance to any policy domain where national courts have jurisdiction in the enforcement of Community policies.

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