The Competition Law Observatory (CLO)

David Ashton, Competition Damages Actions in the EU - Law and Practice, Second Edition, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018, Hardback Price: £145.00 (Publisher’s Website: £130.50), xliii+495 pp, ISBN: 978 1 786430731

Published in the Elgar Competition Law and Practice series, the book under review is the second edition of a work that was praised as an “engaging, well-written and thoroughly readable review of certain key aspects of the main focus in the debate on private enforcement; namely damages actions, as the title suggests” (Barry J. Rodger, Book reviews, in The Competition Law Review, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 117-118) when it came out in 2013, authored at the time by Ashton and Henry.

Now authored only by Ashton, with a number of contributors providing information and analysis in relation to some EU Member States, the book offers a thorough, yet very readable, state of the law, both at EU and Member State level, in relation to actions for damages for loss caused by infringements of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU. The enforcement of competition rules is therefore analysed and addressed from the “private enforcement” angle, meaning legal actions brought by the victim of anti-competitive conduct before a court. As stated by the Author (pp. 8-9), the book, rather than “an exhaustive reference work containing all competition-related litigation brought in the Member States” aims to introduce the main and more important issues, “placing the whole field of competition law litigation in a theoretical, practical and comparative context.”

The first edition of the book addressed the topic in the light of the principles elaborated by the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”), mainly in the Crehan and Manfredi judgments, and on the basis of the Commission proposal for a directive on competition damages actions. The second edition focuses on Directive 2014/104/EU on certain rules governing actions for damages under national law for infringements of the competition law provisions of the Member States and of the European Union.

Divided into 14 chapters, the book addresses procedural and substantive issues in relation to competition damages actions. Interestingly, the Author also provides useful and detailed information in relation to some noticeable EU jurisdictions, allowing a comparative overview in relation to the various topics addressed. It is therefore possible to understand how the legal systems of such Member States regulate competition damages actions and how they have been modified in order to implement Directive 2014/104/EU.

In the first two chapters Ashton provides the reader with the legal context in which the competition law damages action doctrine has developed. In particular, in Chapter 2 the Author provides a useful and detailed discussion of the Crehan judgment, where the CJEU established the entitlement of individuals who are party to an anticompetitive agreement to rely on that infringement before a national court, and that therefore there has to be a remedy for that. In Manfredi, the CJEU set out conditions relating to the court competent to hear such actions, limitation periods and quantification of damages.

In the remaining chapters, the Author analyses certain key aspects such as indirect purchaser standing, evidential issues (in this respect, the discussion on access to the file for substantiating a damages claim is of particular interest), collective redress and jurisdictional issues. The last chapter is on quantification of damages and has been written by two economists.

The Author fully achieves the objective of the book. It provides a clear discussion of the main aspects of competition law damages actions with a comparative angle. It is clearly written and well researched. Contributions from some of the main EU jurisdictions enrich this valuable work. It is highly recommended.

Reviewed in January 2019
Riccardo Sciaudone
Head of the Competition Law Observatory

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