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Rätten till en rättvis rättegång i konkurrensmål i ljuset av Europakonventionens krav i art. 6(1) - Har Europadomstolen gett grönt ljus för kommissionens dubbla roller?

Sundqvist, Maria LU (2013) JURM02 20131
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Art. 6(1) EKMR garanterar var och en vars civila rättigheter eller skyldigheter blir föremål för prövning eller som blir anklagad för brott en rätt till en rättvis rättegång inför en oavhängig och opartisk domstol. Vid administrativa förfaranden, såsom konkurrensrättsliga, har Europadomstolen ställt krav på att i de fall en administrativ myndighet inte uppfyller kraven i art. 6(1) EKMR ålägger företag böter vid konkurrensöverträdelser skall berörda företag ha möjlighet att få frågan prövad av en domstol med full behörighet och inte endast genomför en laglighetsprövning, vilket annars är standard vid administrativa förfaranden.
Kommissionen har ensamt ansvaret för att EU:s konkurrensregler tillämpas på ett effektivt och ändamålsenligt... (More)
Art. 6(1) EKMR garanterar var och en vars civila rättigheter eller skyldigheter blir föremål för prövning eller som blir anklagad för brott en rätt till en rättvis rättegång inför en oavhängig och opartisk domstol. Vid administrativa förfaranden, såsom konkurrensrättsliga, har Europadomstolen ställt krav på att i de fall en administrativ myndighet inte uppfyller kraven i art. 6(1) EKMR ålägger företag böter vid konkurrensöverträdelser skall berörda företag ha möjlighet att få frågan prövad av en domstol med full behörighet och inte endast genomför en laglighetsprövning, vilket annars är standard vid administrativa förfaranden.
Kommissionen har ensamt ansvaret för att EU:s konkurrensregler tillämpas på ett effektivt och ändamålsenligt sätt. Denna exklusiva behörighet ger kommissionen både en utredande och dömande makt vilket länge har kritiserats som oförenligt med art. 6(1) EKMR. Då Tribunalen på pappret endast har behörighet att granska lagenligheten av en akt samt att de tenderat att i många fall hänvisat till kommissionens skönsmässiga bedömning har förfarandet ansetts inte nå upp till standarden full behörighet.
Efter en redogörelse för Europadomstolens praxis kan konstateras att en prövning med full behörighet går utöver en laglighetsprövning. För full behörighet krävs att en domstol skall ha behörighet att pröva både sakliga och rättsliga frågor. Den närmare omfattningen av prövningen beror på omständigheterna i målet där tre punkter bedömts vara särskilt viktiga; graden av rättsskydd hos den administrativa instansen, om frågan rört ett typfall av administrativ bedömning samt de faktiska frågorna som väckts av sökande i målet. Att domstolen kan ogiltigförklara beslutet är i regel fullt tillräckligt.
På motsvarande sätt innebär Tribunalens laglighetsprövning i praktiken att de som huvudregel skall granska alla faktiska och rättsliga omständigheter och att gjorda slutsatser är de enda rimliga. Avseende så kallade ekonomiskt komplexa bedömningar, områden där kommissionen åtnjuter ett eget utrymme för skönsmässiga bedömningar, har Tribunalen istället att göra en något mer begränsad prövning innebärande att alla fakta i målet skall prövas samt att dessa fakta utgör samtliga uppgifter som skall beaktas och att dessa kan ligga till grund för gjorda slutsatser. Oaktat att EU:s konkurrensförfarande på flera punkter synes motsvara Europadomstolens krav uppstår dock tveksamheter framförallt vad gäller när och hur Tribunalen företar en mer begränsad prövning.
Med beaktande av att Europadomstolen i fallet A. Menarini Diagnostics S.R.L v. Italie inte berörde frågan om beslutsinstansens sammanblandning av roller samt godtog en lägre nivå av prövning avseende områden där konkurrensmyndigheten kunde motiveras ha ett utrymme för egen bedömning synes kravet på full behörighet ha sänkts. Detta tillsammans med att EU-domstolen i fallet KME v. Kommissionen istället tycktes skärpa den prövning Tribunalen har att göra i konkurrensmål, och särskilt avseende de så kallade ekonomiskt komplexa bedömningarna, innebär att EU:s konkurrensförfarande sannolikt inte längre riskerar att underkännas av Europadomstolen om frågan skulle ställas på sin spets. Som framgår av min analys ifrågasätter jag dock om inte detta har skett på bekostnad av det rättighetsskydd som garanteras företag under administrativa förfaranden. (Less)
Abstract
For some time there has been loud criticism to whether the institutional structure and procedures for the enforcement of EU Competition Law is compatible with the right to a fair trial. Art. 6(1) ECHR protects this right in criminal law cases and cases concerning civil rights, by guaranteeing everyone the right to a fair trial before an independent and impartial tribunal. Concerning administrative enforcement systems, where an adjudicatory body determines disputes in first instance, the ECtHR has found that if the body itself does not comply with art. 6(1) in some respect, no violation of the ECHR can be found if the proceedings before that body are subject to subsequent control by a judicial body that has full jurisdiction and does... (More)
For some time there has been loud criticism to whether the institutional structure and procedures for the enforcement of EU Competition Law is compatible with the right to a fair trial. Art. 6(1) ECHR protects this right in criminal law cases and cases concerning civil rights, by guaranteeing everyone the right to a fair trial before an independent and impartial tribunal. Concerning administrative enforcement systems, where an adjudicatory body determines disputes in first instance, the ECtHR has found that if the body itself does not comply with art. 6(1) in some respect, no violation of the ECHR can be found if the proceedings before that body are subject to subsequent control by a judicial body that has full jurisdiction and does provide the guarantees of art. 6(1).
With regards to the dual powers of the Commission in being able to both bring charges and impose fines, the EU enforcement system has been said to be in violation of art. 6(1) ECHR. Moreover, as the Treaty provides the Tribunal with the power to carry out only a review of legality of Competition decisions, and that this review in practice is highly deferential, the lack of compliance with ECHR is said not to be remedied by a trial before a court with full jurisdiction.
In the Case Law of the ECtHR the scope of full jurisdiction is met where a court has the power to review all questions raised before it as well as the power to quash the challenged decisions on questions of both fact and law. However, in order to remedy a lack of compliance with art. 6(1) ECHR at first instance, the ECtHR has also found that it is necessary to have regard to such factors as the subject-matter of the decision appealed against, the manner in which that decision was arrived at and the content of the dispute, including the desired and actual grounds of appeal.
The TEU on the other hand provides the Tribunal with the power to review the legality as well as an unlimited jurisdiction regarding decisions whereby fines are imposed on companies. A deeper analysis of the ECJ Case Law shows that this review reaches beyond the general perception of a review of legality. In general, the Tribunal carries out a review of all questions of fact and law implying that the conclusions drawn are the only reasonable. Nevertheless, regarding complex economic appraisals the Tribunal indeed carries out a more limited review closer to a review of legality. Although the Tribunal therefor carries out a somewhat more comprehensive review than the critics want to confess to, there are still discrepancies between the Case Law of the ECtHR and the ECJ that raises concerns of the compatibility of the EU Competition Law with the ECHR. This especially concerning when a limited review is exercised.
In A Menarini Diagnostics S.R.L, the ECtHR considered the Italian Competition enforcement system to be compatible with the ECHR. The ECtHR seems to no longer consider the manner in which the decision was arrived at as a relevant factor of consideration and does not per se prohibit that a deferential approach is taken towards typical administrative appraisals. Conversely, in KME the ECJ limited the deferential approach challenged the Tribunal to engage in a more thorough assessment of complex economic appraisals. With this in mind it is my conclusion that the EU Enforcement System no longer risks being nullified. Indeed, the Italian Procedure seems to be of in fact an even more limited review than the one offered by the Tribunal. However, I question if this is not at the expense of the substantial protection guaranteed in adjudicatory proceedings. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Sundqvist, Maria LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
The right to a fair trial in EU Competition Law Cases, in the light of art. 6(1) ECHR - A green light to the dual powers of the Commission?
course
JURM02 20131
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
EU-rätt, Konkurrensrätt, Processrätt, Straffrätt, Europeiska konventionen för mänskliga rättigheter, EKMR, Rätten till en rättvis rättegång, Administrativa förfaranden.
language
Swedish
id
3563693
date added to LUP
2013-04-09 08:58:43
date last changed
2013-04-09 08:58:43
@misc{3563693,
  abstract     = {For some time there has been loud criticism to whether the institutional structure and procedures for the enforcement of EU Competition Law is compatible with the right to a fair trial. Art. 6(1) ECHR protects this right in criminal law cases and cases concerning civil rights, by guaranteeing everyone the right to a fair trial before an independent and impartial tribunal. Concerning administrative enforcement systems, where an adjudicatory body determines disputes in first instance, the ECtHR has found that if the body itself does not comply with art. 6(1) in some respect, no violation of the ECHR can be found if the proceedings before that body are subject to subsequent control by a judicial body that has full jurisdiction and does provide the guarantees of art. 6(1). 
With regards to the dual powers of the Commission in being able to both bring charges and impose fines, the EU enforcement system has been said to be in violation of art. 6(1) ECHR. Moreover, as the Treaty provides the Tribunal with the power to carry out only a review of legality of Competition decisions, and that this review in practice is highly deferential, the lack of compliance with ECHR is said not to be remedied by a trial before a court with full jurisdiction. 
In the Case Law of the ECtHR the scope of full jurisdiction is met where a court has the power to review all questions raised before it as well as the power to quash the challenged decisions on questions of both fact and law. However, in order to remedy a lack of compliance with art. 6(1) ECHR at first instance, the ECtHR has also found that it is necessary to have regard to such factors as the subject-matter of the decision appealed against, the manner in which that decision was arrived at and the content of the dispute, including the desired and actual grounds of appeal. 
The TEU on the other hand provides the Tribunal with the power to review the legality as well as an unlimited jurisdiction regarding decisions whereby fines are imposed on companies. A deeper analysis of the ECJ Case Law shows that this review reaches beyond the general perception of a review of legality. In general, the Tribunal carries out a review of all questions of fact and law implying that the conclusions drawn are the only reasonable. Nevertheless, regarding complex economic appraisals the Tribunal indeed carries out a more limited review closer to a review of legality. Although the Tribunal therefor carries out a somewhat more comprehensive review than the critics want to confess to, there are still discrepancies between the Case Law of the ECtHR and the ECJ that raises concerns of the compatibility of the EU Competition Law with the ECHR. This especially concerning when a limited review is exercised. 
In A Menarini Diagnostics S.R.L, the ECtHR considered the Italian Competition enforcement system to be compatible with the ECHR. The ECtHR seems to no longer consider the manner in which the decision was arrived at as a relevant factor of consideration and does not per se prohibit that a deferential approach is taken towards typical administrative appraisals. Conversely, in KME the ECJ limited the deferential approach challenged the Tribunal to engage in a more thorough assessment of complex economic appraisals. With this in mind it is my conclusion that the EU Enforcement System no longer risks being nullified. Indeed, the Italian Procedure seems to be of in fact an even more limited review than the one offered by the Tribunal. However, I question if this is not at the expense of the substantial protection guaranteed in adjudicatory proceedings.},
  author       = {Sundqvist, Maria},
  keyword      = {EU-rätt,Konkurrensrätt,Processrätt,Straffrätt,Europeiska konventionen för mänskliga rättigheter,EKMR,Rätten till en rättvis rättegång,Administrativa förfaranden.},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Rätten till en rättvis rättegång i konkurrensmål i ljuset av Europakonventionens krav i art. 6(1) - Har Europadomstolen gett grönt ljus för kommissionens dubbla roller?},
  year         = {2013},
}