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Class Actions in Competition Law

Although competition authorities condemn companies to pay penalties running into the millions, hardly anyone ever talks about the real victims of antitrust law infringements, who are often clients and consumers. The hurdles which need to be successfully overcome in order to win damages against companies which violate antitrust law are high.

Objective

A substantial strengthening of antitrust civil law would require the introduction of class action lawsuits.

  • First of all, an analysis shall be made regarding the functioning of antitrust class action lawsuits in jurisdictions where such lawsuits are already implemented.
  • Based upon the findings, the "Best Practices Class Action in Competition Law" will be established.

To that end, it will also need to be deliberated as to how it is "technically" possible to integrate the advantages of class action lawsuits into different legal systems without it leading to "over the top" claims for damages, as is the case in America.

It is essential that this is approached with a different style of analysis with regard to the development of the class action lawsuit as a process instrument (e.g. punitive damages, contingency fees for lawyers, fishing expeditions).

Fabio Babey

«We want to enforce the position of consumers and improve their protection without leading to "over the top" claims for damages.»

Dr. iur. Fabio Babey, Dozent

Background

Geographic spread

As far as the geographic spread is concerned, the following can be observed:

Subject matter

The subject matter of antitrust law class action lawsuits is applied in the following manner:

Advantages

Antitrust class action lawsuits bring the following advantages when compared with individual claims:

Disadvantages

The disadvantages of class action lawsuits primarily affect the defendant companies, as well as certain investigative tools of the competition authorities.

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