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The Global Undertakings' Access Rights to documents in EU Competition Enforcement Procedure

  • DONG-A LAW REVIEW
  • 2013, (60), pp.433-466
  • Publisher : The Institute for Legal Studies Dong-A University
  • Research Area : Social Science > Law

Lee, Hosun 1

1국민대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

From the perspectives of global undertakings, the international competition norms have real and legal binding effect on their business than any other domestic laws. It is not surprising and frequently occurred that they have been investigated and punished by the competent competition authorities abroad due to violating anti-trust law. Moreover, the mergers tried by those companies are subject to the approval of the abroad authorities as well as domestic one. Thus, in this article, the author tries to review the strategy of our global corporates for defending themselves in EU competition law enforcement procedures, in particular, focusing on the right to information. Under the EU competition law, the undertakings alleged to violate the competition law are allowed to access all the documents concerned to defend themselves. However, there are some exceptions; for example, the documents contain the trade secrets of other companies. If the disputes over whether or not to allow the right of file access occur, firstly, this matter may be referred to the Hearing Officer, and apart from this, the undertakings may complain to the Ombudsman. Although there are no explicit ground for Ombudsman’s intervening on competition matters, in practice, it has played active role in defending the procedural rights of the alleged firms. Therefore, it is recommendable that the global firms should take in mind to use Ombudsman complaining procedures as well as the EU competition ones. Finally, it should be noted that the alleged undertakings have to prepare responding to damages litigation from the third parties, e.g. consumers or their rivals, after punished for violation on EU competition law. To defend this litigation, by specifying confidential part on the documents required by the EU competition authorities, they must be careful not to disclose their trade secrets, or those documents not to be used as evidences for their civil responsibilities to plaintiffs.

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