The Right to Compensation for Damages Caused by Anticompetitive Conduct: From the Case Law of the Court of Justice of the EU to Directive EU/2014/104


Compensation claims for competition infringements are a form of private enforcement of prohibitions against anti-competitive conduct. The proper understanding of this kind of enforcement requires taking into consideration the particularities of these offences, which influence the right of the injured parties to obtain compensation for the harm suffered and other possible remedies provided for in the law. Although the right of injured parties to claim damages is built on the typical foundations of non-contractual liability (tort), a dozen judgments of the EU Court of Justice have altered the rules and principles according to which victims are entitled to seek damages compensation. Directive EU/2014/104 codifies this jurisprudential acquis and introduces other novelties, which are currently being tested in the incipient follow-on litigation in Spain following several decisions of the national and European competition authorities. The new rules and the forceful projection of the principle of effectiveness of EU law have limited the autonomy of Member States and lead to an actualised approach to the rules on standing (active and passive), causation, statute of limitations and harm proof/quantification. Surprisingly, the progress made on the above issues contrasts with the lack of adequate mechanisms for class actions, which -given the dispersion and fragmentation of the damage in many of these cases- severely limits the effectiveness of the rights of injured parties and the efficiency of these proceedings.

(Paper is in Spanish.)