Edited by Albert A. Foer and Jonathan W. Cuneo
Chapter 17: France
Nathalie Jalabert-Doury1 Introduction In France, private enforcement actions in the antitrust field are dealt with under general tort law rules. Claims are brought pursuant to article 1382 of the Civil Code, which provides that any act which causes damage to another person obliges the party at fault to compensate the victim. For years, antitrust enforcement was essentially public, with the Autorité de la Concurrence (the French Competition Authority or FCA) and the European Commission (EC) being empowered to investigate and impose injunctions and fines on companies participating in antitrust violations. An agency of the Ministry of Economy, the Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes (DGCCRF) is also empowered to investigate and settle minor cases. However, none of these authorities is empowered to grant damages. In the past decade, private enforcement actions have developed and are today more numerous than they used to be. But so far, private enforcement remains limited in France, primarily due to restrictions of French judicial procedures concerning access by private parties to evidence, and the absence of any true group or representative actions. However, the European Commission is advocating the merits of private enforcement to Member States and has made a series of recommendations to promote effective access to justice for victims of competition law infringements – the latest being a draft proposal for a directive on rules governing damages actions for infringement of European competition law which goes far beyond the present French private enforcement...
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