Access to Documents in the Competition Law in the Context of Damages Actions for Breaches of European Union Rules



Abstract. Damages claims (compensation) for breaches of Articles 101 or 102 of the Treaty (direct effect) create an important sphere of private enforcement of EU competition law. The Directive seeks to ensure the effective enforcement of the EU competition rules by optimising the interaction between the public and private enforcement of competition law and ensuring obtain full compensation by victims of infringements of the EU competition rules for the harm they suffered. However, the effectiveness of filing a civil action before the national courts depends on many factors, including in particular the extent of access to documents collected in connection with the public law. Practical implementation of these rules in the interest of economically disadvantaged individuals is far from consistency. In the article the accent has been put on the problem of access barriers victims of competition breaches to the documents collected in connection administrative action.  Does the Directive remove the fundamental barriers to access to information? To ensure effective private enforcement actions under civil law and effective public enforcement by competition authorities, both instruments are required to synergy to ensure maximum effectiveness of the competition rules. It is necessary to regulate, adequately, the way the two forms of enforcement are coordinated. The mutual interplay at Union level will also avoid divergence of applicable rules, which could jeopardise the proper functioning of the EU internal market.

Keywords. Competition, Access to information, Damages, Effectiveness, Litigation.

JEL. K21, K41, L49.

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