The EU Directive on Antitrust Actions for Damages and Its Side-Effects on Civil Procedure in the European Union

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Stefano Grassani, Jan 21, 2015

Many commentators have addressed the impact of the recent EU Directive on antitrust damages actions (“Directive”) in direct relation with the highly controversial issue of the extent to which plaintiffs should be granted access to the files held by national competition agencies, especially with reference to key inculpatory documents submitted by leniency applicants.
In connection thereof, the existence of discovery rules in the legal systems of the Member States, and the broader ramification that the Directive may have on national codes or rules of civil procedure, are usually not called into question. Further to the Pfleiderer saga, the debate seems indeed to be confined to how appropriately Articles 6 and 7 of the Directive strike the balance between the need to develop private antitrust actions in Europe and the necessity not to undermine leniency programs’ contributions to public antitrust enforcement. In such a context, discovery is deemed to be a “given” tool of civil litigation and, as just said, the question seems to essentially be limited to how to best achieve the above equilibrium between apparently conflicting interests.