Access to evidence in antitrust damage actions in light of recent case law and the Draft Directive
Sonntag, 27 April 2014

by Stefan Michael Hirner

Although there is a strong tradition of public enforcement of competition law in Europe, private follow-on damage actions in competition matters became far more frequent in recent years. One essential question in antitrust damage actions is whether and in how far potential claimants can get access to cartel files of the European Commission or the National Competition Authorities. Even though it is recognized by Competition Authorities that there should be an effective right for compensation, the effectiveness of leniency programmes - the most important tool to detect hidden cartels - shall not be hampered by far reaching disclosure obligations in follow-on actions. This paper analyses the access to cartel files on the European as well as on the national level in light of recent case law and the Draft Directive on Antitrust Damage Actions.