Tag: private enforcement

On Leniency, Damages and Deterrence

Authors: Catarina Marvão and Giancarlo Spagnolo, SITE.

On November 26th of 2014, an EU Directive on antitrust damage actions was signed into law. The Directive is to praise as it does a lot to facilitate private antitrust actions in the EU. However, the Directive also tries to address a possible conflict between public and private antitrust law enforcement due to the central role played by Leniency Programs in cartel detection and prosecution. This conflict has long been at focus of legal debate. Private damage actions may reduce the attractiveness of Leniency Programs for cartel participants if their cooperation with the competition authority increases the chance that the cartel’s victims will bring a successful suit. The Directive strikes a compromise between public and private enforcement by preventing the use of leniency statements in subsequent actions for damages and limiting the liability of the immunity recipient to its direct and indirect purchasers. A new paper by Buccirossi, Marvão and Spagnolo (2014) shows that damage actions will actually improve the effectiveness of such programs, through a legal regime in which the civil liability of the immunity recipient is minimized and full access to all evidence collected by the competition authority, including leniency statements, is granted to claimants, a legal regime already implemented in Hungary since 2011.