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EU perspectives on Leniency in Competition Law

Awarded: NOK 58,000

Project Number:


Project Period:

2014 - 2014

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My PhD-project aims to look into what the scope of the leniency programme in competition law in the EU should be, and how to enforce a programme like this to most efficiently detect established cartels and prevent the emergence of new ones. One of the mai n objectives of competition law in the EU is economic efficiency. Leniency has proven to be an effective tool to detect and destabilize cartels, and it is therefore reason to argue that an optimized leniency programme will lead to economic efficiency. But how can we strengthen the incentives of a cartel participant to cooperate with the competition authorities? What would be an obtainable solution? The subject raises many questions, among others how public enforcement and the relationship between public and private enforcement should be. The US is considered by many to have the most efficient antitrust regulations in competition law worldwide, and has inspired the EU. However, as opposed to the US, the competition rules at EU-level are administrative law -based and leave out criminal law. This raises the question whether or not to criminalize cartels, and whether or not a cartel member should receive immunity from criminal sanctions to make cartel detection more efficient. Further, a cartel member is not protected against private damages claims, and the information provided by the cartel participant to the competition authorities might be used in a private damages action. One could argue that this creates disincentives to cooperate with the competition au thorities, and thus ask if this should be changed in favour of the cartel member. Another part of my this will look at what types of collusions both horizontally and vertically a cartel member should receive immunity from. Will leniency always lead to a m ore efficient market? Finally, the question arises if and how to deal with a situation where a cartel participant has received immunity, but still risks prosecution for corruption or bribery.

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Thematic Areas and Topics

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