Now the Commission Wants Compensation Too The Commission as Private Damages Claimant and Its Implications

Ruchit Patel, Paul Stuart, Jul 15, 2013

In February 2007, the European Commission (the “Commission”) adopted an infringement decision finding that a number of manufacturers of lifts and escalators had engaged in cartel behavior contrary to Article 101 TFEU (the “Decision”). The Commission imposed fines totaling more than EUR 990 million. In June 2008, the Commission, on behalf of the European Union, brought an action in the Belgian Commercial Court seeking damages of around EUR 7 million for harm suffered in relation to that same cartel infringement, on the basis that a number of EU institutions had overpaid for lifts and escalators during the cartel period.

Is the Commission permitted to be the Judge and a Party in relation to the same proceeding? What does this mean for the balance between public and private enforcement of EU competition law? The European Court of Justice’s responses to these questions in its preliminary ruling in Otis are explained and considered below.

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