Volume 27 (2004)

Volume 27 (2004) / Issue 3

Koen Lenaerts, Damien Gerard, 'Decentralisation of EC Competition Law Enforcement: Judges in the Frontline' (2004) 27 World Competition, Issue 3, pp. 313–349


<p>With the entering into application of Regulation 1/2003, national courts are thrown into the arena of EC competition law enforcement. The Commission seems to firmly believe that they have an essential role to play in applying competition rules in order to complement the enforcement activities of the public authorities. This article analyses the role of national courts under the new decentralised system with due regard for the concerns generally expressed at their ability to handle complex antitrust cases and at the consistency of judicial interpretation of Articles 81 and 82 EC throughout the Union. The Community Courts will also be affected by Regulation 1&sol;2003 even if no specific arrangement has been made to help them face a likely increase in workload. It is argued however that their traditional tools, i.e. preliminary ruling and control of legality, remain suitable to support national courts and to ensure a proper application of EC competition law by the Commission. Finally the article tries to draw some lessons from the long experience of judicial enforcement of the antitrust laws in the United States and offers some thoughts on the role of counsel in the success of the decentralisation venture.</p>

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ISSN: 1011-4548
ID: WOCO2004019