Short Reads

Court of Justice clarifies rules on evidence in bathroom fittings cartel judgments

Court of Justice clarifies rules on evidence in bathroom fittings cartel judgments

01.02.2017 EU law

Competition Law Newsletter of February 2017

On 26 January 2017, the Court of Justice delivered fourteen judgments on the appeals against the General Court's ("GC") judgments in the bathroom fittings cartel cases. The judgments shed light on the rules of evidence in EU competition law proceedings. The Court ruled that the probative value of evidence should be considered in the light of the body of evidence as a whole. In this context, the Court also clarified that two leniency statements can constitute sufficient proof if they corroborate each other. The Court also ruled on the application of the fine cap of 10% of the annual turnover in situations where a subsidiary is held individually liable for participating in a cartel violation prior to the acquisition by the parent company.

The Court judgments in the bathroom fittings case follow the GC judgments of 2013 [see our October 2013 Newsletter]. The Court dismissed the majority of the appeals in their entirety. Two appeals that were lodged by the European Commission and Laufen Austria were referred back to the GC.

The Court upheld the Commission's appeal against the GC's judgment in relation to the Sanitec group. The Court agreed with the Commission that the GC failed to conduct an overall assessment of the evidence. It concluded that the GC (i) infringed the applicable rules on evidence, (ii) failed to examine the probative value of certain documents in the case file and (iii) failed to ascertain whether the evidence, viewed as a whole, could be mutually supporting. In this respect, the Court ruled that the GC erred in law when it found that one leniency statement cannot corroborate another.

With regard to the appeal made by Laufen Austria, the Court ruled that a parent company cannot be held liable for an infringement committed by its subsidiary prior to the acquisition of that subsidiary. According to the Court, the Commission should have determined whether the part of the fine relating to the period before the subsidiary was acquired was below the fine cap of 10% of the subsidiary's own turnover.

A noteworthy aspect of several bathroom fitting cartel judgments is that the Court of Justice held that the mere fact that an infringement has a more extensive geographical scope or covers a greater number of products than another infringement does not, in itself, necessarily mean that the infringement must be classified as more serious. However, as the operative part of these judgments were shown to be well founded on other legal grounds, the Court did not set aside this part of the judgments under appeal. 

This article was published in the Competition Law Newsletter of February 2017. Other articles in this newsletter:

1. Court of Justice confirms Commission's approach in its first hybrid settlement case
2. Court of Justice confirms the fine imposed on Toshiba and Panasonic in the cathode ray tubes cartel
3. General Court awards damages for failure to adjudicate within a reasonable time
4. District Court of Rotterdam confirms that investment firms may be held liable for conduct of portfolio companies


Related news

16.03.2018 BE law
(Micro)plastics: EU-restrictie op komst?

Articles - Lees hier meer over de groeiende aandacht voor microplastics, die meer en meer in producten en levensmiddelen opduiken. De Europese instellingen hebben de microplastics in het vizier vanwege hun mogelijke impact op het marien milieu en de menselijke gezondheid. Ze denken na over beperkingen op microplastics. Volgen ook in België  bindende maatregelen?

Read more

01.03.2018 EU law
ACM publishes key priorities for 2018 and 2019

Short Reads - On 13 February 2018, the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) highlighted the key priorities it will pursue in 2018 and 2019. It will focus on the digital economy, making the energy market greener, prices of prescription drugs and competition in the port sector. Interested parties were invited to share their comments on the priorities and multiple statements online.

Read more

14.03.2018 EU law
The Court of Justice of the European Union Rules that Intra-EU Investment Arbitration is Incompatible with EU Law: Reflections and Consequences for the Energy Charter Treaty

Articles - On the 6th of March 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) held in a case between the Slovak Republic and Achmea (Case C-284/16, ECLI:EU:C:2018:158) that investment arbitration on the basis of the Netherlands-Slovakia Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) is incompatible with EU law, in particular Arts. 267 and 344 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). 

Read more

27.02.2018 BE law
Kleinhandelsbeleid getoetst aan Dienstenrichtlijn

Articles - Het Hof van Justitie heeft in een recent arrest de Dienstenrichtlijn van toepassing verklaard op "detailhandel". Dit arrest heeft belangrijke gevolgen voor het lokale kleinhandelsbeleid. Zo zal een gemeente of een provincie die de toegang tot of de uitoefening van een dienstenactiviteit beperkt, afdoende moeten motiveren waarom die belemmering verstaanbaar is met de Dienstenrichtlijn. Het bestuur moet dan ook waakzamer dan ooit zijn wil het een wettig kleinhandelsbeleid voeren. 

Read more

Our website uses cookies: third party analytics cookies to best adapt our website to your needs & cookies to enable social media functionalities. For more information on the use of cookies, please check our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Please note that you can change your cookie opt-ins at any time via your browser settings.

Privacy – en cookieverklaring