This course deals with the evils that fall within the remit of Competition Law in the European Union (EU). The course focusses on the detection, prevention, combatting and compensation of these evils. During this course, students will gain theoretical and practical knowledge about the prohibitions on cartels and abuse of dominance, competition law enforcement in the courts and through private actions, competition in digital markets and public procurement.
This course deals with the evils of Competition Law in the EU. An effective common market within the EU requires fair and undistorted competition. For this reason, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union “TFEU” includes strict rules to tackle unfair competition via articles 101 and 102 TFEU. The European Commission's DG Competition vigorously attacks cartels within the European Union. According to its own view, cartels are highly detrimental for the following reason: “A cartel is a group of similar, independent companies which joint together to fix prices, to limit production or to share markets or customers between them. Instead of competing with each other, cartel members rely on each other’s agreed course of action, which reduces their incentives to provide new or better products and services at competitive prices. As a consequence, their clients (consumers or other businesses) end up paying more for less quality.” The Commission is equally aggressive when it comes to abuses of dominant positions in the EU common market, which can also lead to higher prices and lower quality. This is evident from the recent €2.4bn fine issued against Google for abusing its dominant position in the search engine market – the largest fine so far in the history of EU Competition Law.
The central theme in this course is how cartels and abuse of dominance are prevented, detected, combatted and compensated under European competition law. The aim is to give students insights into how unfair competition occurs in practice, how it can be prevented and how to react if unfair competition is detected within a company. To that end, students will participate in a mock trial, receive lectures from top-notch professors and the Dutch Competition Authority, and will visit a top law firm in the Netherlands to learn more about competition law in practice. In addition, we will touch upon modern competition issues in the digital era. During the last day of the course, students will give a short presentation in which they will have to comment on (the effects of) a famous cartel in their home country. This presentation can be transformed into a paper, which will make up the final grade for the course. The Summer Course has a social program as well, in which students discover Utrecht and the University’s facilities.
This course connects closely to the "Financial Law and Economics" course. Both course are included in the special track "Highlights of Law and Economics".
Prof. Anna Gerbrandy
Willem Janssen LLM
Rebecca Larsen LLM
Guest lectures from Marc Kuiper LLM (Partner and Attorney at law at Dentons Boekel), and dr. Lilian Petit (Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM)).