The following Competition practice note Produced in partnership with Dentons provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
Undertakings involved in competition proceedings, including merger investigations, before the European Commission enjoy rights of defence which safeguard their interests. The observance of such rights by the Commission is a fundamental principle of EU law and has been further bolstered by the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, as the latter makes the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFR) legally binding and provides for the accession of the EU to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
A number of procedural steps taken by the Commission in the course of antitrust proceedings may have a lasting adverse impact on the undertakings’ rights of defence. In view of this, Regulation 1/2003 aims at striking a balance between: (i) the effective enforcement of EU antitrust rules, and (ii) the respect of the undertakings’ rights of defence. The undertakings’ rights of defence include:
the privilege against self-incrimination
the right to be heard
the right to be assisted by legal counsel, including the protection of communications between legal counsel and the undertaking on the basis of the legal professional privilege (LPP), and
the right to good administration.
Each is analysed in further detail in the subsections that follow.
The Commission is empowered to request information to be supplied to it, as is necessary to detect an infringement of EU antitrust
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