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Spain: Market-skewing Law College fined by regulator

 |  May 22, 2017

Spanish market regulator CNMC has issued a €180,000 euro fine on the Illustrious College of Lawyers of Madrid (ICAM), a law school, for uncompetitive practices demanding that attorneys keep an office within their territorial area of influence before joining with the school’s in-court and pro-bono services, an important source of experience for new practitioners.

Authorities found that ICAM had carried out “practices which restrict competition for over 6 years, consisting on a dividing of the market which limits competition in specific geographical regions, damaging the principle of Single Collegiate certification provided by the Law.” The Community of Madrid is currently served by two law schools: the Madrid (ICAM) and Alcalá de Henares (ICAAH), with each covering a specific and well-marked territory.

The ICAM required, through its internal regulation, for lawyers to open a practicing law office within the school’s territory, before these lawyers could participate in the in-court and pro-bono counsel services the ICAM runs for the benefit of it’s territory’s courts.

The CNMC concluded that the requirement for attorneys to operate a law office within the ICAM’s territory would be disproportional, considering the desirable end of the in-court and pro-bono services program, which is to offer better and faster service, as well as violating competition law by limiting supply in the available market, engaging in territorial division and for setting discriminatory conditions to graduates of other law colleges.

Full Content: El Economista

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