Course Aims & Content
This course is based on the following research question: when competition policy choices are made, how does the legal system respond and react? The reason for asking this question is that policy changes in competition law enforcement occur relatively frequently (we will ask why this is so) but the way the legal system responds and thereby facilitates or hampers those policy choices has not been studied. This is what I hope we can discuss during the course. We generally focus on EU Law, with some reference to US developments and literature.
Within this framework the course is also designed as an advanced introduction to the key competition law provisions, so that those with little knowledge of the subject may also benefit from the course. However, this course is not a basic introduction to competition law.
The topics we cover in the course are as follows: Seminar 1 opens by considering some literature on the evolution of competition law; Seminars 2 and 3 then explore the reform of the rules governing the abuse of a dominant position: we first look at what was perceived to be wrong with the dominant approach and then ask whether recent judgments of the ECJ shed any light on whether the Court has followed the policy line traced by the Commission. Seminars 4 and 5 look at Article 101 TFEU, which regulates agreements between firms: we first take a look at a set of judgments where it appears to me the policy is driven by the Courts: that is to say the ECJ appears to re-interpret some of the key elements of the prohibition found in Article 101(1). We then turn to exemptions under Article 101(3) and consider the extent to which non-competition policy considerations are pleaded and how these pleas are received by the ECJ, and the extent to which such matters are fit for adjudication. Seminar 6 turns to cartel policy. This is a policy priority of every antitrust agency and we test how far the courts have affected this policy choice. Seminars 7 and 8 look at the policy of decentralisation that led to Regulation 1/2003, we consider the policy choice critically first and then turn to the major legal issues that have arisen since its coming into force. Seminars 9 and 10 then consider state intervention in the economy, and the relationship between national policies and EU competition law.
Teaching and Requirements
Reading lists are made available on line; almost all material is accessible electronically, when this is not the case arrangements will be made to ensure you have access to the material.
For each seminar you are expected to: (i) carry out the reading; (ii) write a short reaction to what you have read and insert it on line; (iii) participate in the seminar discussion. The reaction paragraphs may be framed in whatever way you wish, but they should not be a summary of the material you have read: you should engage with the readings and bring out your reflections. You may focus on one of the readings, or you may identify a theme that arises from the readings or explain how what you have read might affect or be affected by other material you are familiar with. Posting them on line allows us to also carry out a virtual discussion by responding to each other’s observations & comments.
Links to Reading lists (your comments shoud be entered underneath the relevant reading list)