This month the European Commission issued a short four-page policy brief on Directive 2014/104/EU. The new Damages Directive makes it easier for victims of antitrust violations, including prixe-fixing cartels, to claim compensation. EU Member States need to implement the new Damages Directive by 27 December 2016.
The new Directive 2014/104/EU on antitrust damages actions (the Directive)1 makes it a lot easier for victims of antitrust violations to claim compensation. Among other things, it will give victims easier access to evidence they need to prove the damage suffered and more time to make their claims. Up till now it was difficult to exercise this right in practice for all but the biggest companies. By harmonising procedures all over Europe, litigation to recover losses will become a realistic option for smaller companies, SMEs and consumers. The Directive is designed to achieve more effective enforcement of the EU antitrust rules overall: it fine-tunes the interplay between private damages claims and public enforcement, and preserves the attractiveness of tools used by European and national competition authorities, in particular leniency and settlement programmes.
The Commission stated that ‘the vast majority’ of large antitrust damages actions are currently being brought in the Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom. A recent publication in the Journal of European Competition Law & Practice (JECLAP) showcases antitrust litigation in those three jurisdictions from July 2013 – July 2014.