Short Reads

Hague Court of Appeal rules on interpretation of object infringements

Hague Court of Appeal rules on interpretation of object infringements

Hague Court of Appeal rules on interpretation of object infringements

01.05.2017 EU law

On 4 April 2017, the Hague Court of Appeal ruled that supermarket and food service trade association CBL (Centraal Bureau Levensmiddelhandel) and its member Jumbo had not infringed article 6 of the Dutch Competition Act (Mw) when setting minimum standards for preventing the sale of alcohol and tobacco to underage customers. The ruling overturns the earlier judgment of the District Court of the Hague finding an infringement of the Dutch cartel prohibition.

In the Netherlands, it is prohibited to sell alcohol and tobacco to underage customers. To prevent such sales, Hollandsche Exploitatiemaatschappij (HEM) developed a system to verify the age of a customer by taking a picture at the cash register and having it evaluated off-site. Separately, CBL, with 95% of all supermarkets as its members, launched a Campaign in 2009 and drafted a Code of Conduct in 2012 that focused on age verification by the cashier. With the Campaign and Code CBL in effect introduced a minimum standard for CBL's members.

HEM initiated proceedings against CBL and Jumbo, alleging a cartel infringement resulting in the exclusion of HEM's system from the market. The District Court considered that the Campaign and Code amounted to an object infringement. It reached this conclusion by observing HEM's system was excluded from the market. The Court of Appeal overturned the ruling of the District Court. Referencing Cartes Bancaires, the Court observed that the concept of 'object infringement' should be interpreted restrictively. In this case, the Court of Appeal considered that there was no object infringement. CBL Members were free to use additional verification measures. For example, one supermarket experimented with the HEM system while adhering to the Campaign, showing that the Campaign and Code did not exclude the use of the system. The Court also found it relevant that CBL's members had considered the system but decided against it for reasons relating to the system itself.

Decisions of trade associations and the concept of object infringements have come up a few times recently (e.g. Alpe d'huZes and De Geborgde Dierenarts). The District Court's ruling in this case was met with questions from practitioners that observed the limited substantiation for the finding of an object infringement. Additional questions were raised about the compatibility of the District Court's ruling with Cartes Bancaires. The judgment of the Hague Court of Appeal has now reconfirmed the restrictive interpretation of object infringements. HEM has indicated it will appeal the rulings before the Supreme Court.

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

  1. Court of Justice allows use of evidence received from national tax authorities
  2. Court of Justice clarifies parental liability rules in the context of prescription
  3. European Commission publishes report on effectiveness of enforcement in online hotel booking sector
  4. Dusseldorf Court confirms that Asics' online sales restrictions violate competition law
  5. Commercial Court of Ghent grants compensation to parallel importers for competition law infringement by Honda

Team

Related news

20.06.2018 NL law
Op weg naar één Europese spoorwegruimte: de aanpassing van de Nederlandse wetgeving aan het Europese recht

Articles - Het zogenaamde 'Vierde Spoorwegpakket' zal belangrijke gevolgen hebben voor de Europese spoorwegruimte. De Nederlandse regering maakt goede vaart met de aanpassing van het nationale recht aan de eisen die uit het Vierde Spoorwegpakket voortvloeien. Inmiddels is een daartoe strekkend wetsvoorstel aanhangig bij de Tweede Kamer. De vaste commissie voor Infrastructuur en Waterstaat heeft eind vorige maand het verslag van haar bevindingen ten aanzien van het wetsvoorstel uitgebracht.

Read more

01.06.2018 EU law
European Court of Justice rules EY did not violate stand-still obligation in Danish merger

Short Reads - On 31 May 2018, the European Court of Justice ruled that Ernst & Young (EY) did not illegally implement the acquisition of KPMG Denmark (KPMG DK) before obtaining antitrust clearance.  Following the announcement of the transaction, KPMG DK terminated a cooperation agreement. According to the Court, that act cannot be regarded as a violation of the stand-still obligation since it did not contribute to the change of control of the target undertaking.

Read more

20.06.2018 NL law
Naar een volwaardig recht op toegang tot de rechter en een eerlijk proces onder het EVRM?

Articles - Het recht op een toegang tot de rechter en een eerlijk proces van artikel 6 EVRM is één van de hoekstenen van dit verdrag. Naast strafzaken en zaken over bestuurlijke boetes vallen de meeste andere geschillen onder het toepassingsbereik van deze bepaling. Dit omdat er volgens de autonome Straatsburgse uitleg al snel sprake is van een geschil over de vaststelling van ‘civil rights and obligations’ als bedoeld in artikel 6 EVRM.

Read more

05.06.2018 EU law
New EU rules to reduce marine pollution

Articles - Plastic pollution has become a key environmental concern. And it is not surprising why: according to a recent study, of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics that have been produced so far, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste. Of this plastic waste, 79% is accumulating either in landfill sites or in the oceans. Therefore, on 28 May 2018 the EU Commission issued a new draft Directive aimed at tackling marine litter by addressing single use plastic items and abandoned fishing gear.

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