Abstract

The European Commission seeks to reform antitrust damages actions for the violation of EU competition law to remove obstacles that prevent successful compensation claims. The policy and adjacent debate are based on the assumptions that very few successful private antitrust actions exist in Europe and that the present obstacles to successful damages litigation necessitate changes in the legal frameworks of the Member States. However, empirical evidence for the assumptions about the nature and magnitude of competition litigation is rare and, with respect to civil law jurisdictions, virtually non-existent. In this article, I contrast some of the main beliefs that underpin European private antitrust policy with findings from an empirical study of private antitrust litigation in Germany. The article demonstrates that the propositions as to the state and nature of private antitrust litigation only partially hold true. Antitrust litigation is more complex than the focus on one single remedy—antitrust damages actions—suggests.

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