Edited by Albert A. Foer and Jonathan W. Cuneo
Giovanni Barone and Roberto Amore1 Introduction The level of private antitrust enforcement in Italy has been gradually increasing over the last few years thanks to consistent promotion and public debates at both the EU and national levels, leading to a greater awareness of the remedies available through private actions. This trend was somewhat reinforced by the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court (ruling in Plenary Session) in the Unipol case of 2005,2 which finally clarified that, in addition to competitors and intermediate customers, final consumers may also bring private lawsuits in Italy under either Italian or EU competition law. Ever since then, extensive discussions and proposals have taken place on the introduction of a new law regulating collective or ‘class’ actions in Italy, which could also be utilized in relation to antitrust cases. The adoption of such a law has been delayed and hampered by widespread public criticism, including resistance by the main industry federation. The frequent turnover of the Italian Government, leading to shifts in legislative priorities, further compounded the delay until January 2010, when the new law finally entered into force. Private antitrust claims in Italy, particularly follow-on damages actions based on cartel infringements, may also increase in the future as a result of the rising application of the Leniency Program introduced by the Italian Antitrust Authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, hereinafter ‘IAA’) in 2007, which is expected to lead to greater detection of cartel activity in the coming years. Conversely, follow-on litigation in...
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