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European Union competition law is often emulated by other competition systems around the world and hence is a crucial area of study and practice for competition lawyers and enforcement officials beyond Europe. At the same time the ‘template’ nature of the EU system may obscure the degree to which thinkers, policy makers and decision makers at various levels in Europe embrace different and sometimes contradictory visions of the goals and functions of competition law - resulting in fractures and incoherence within the EU system. This subject will provide students with advanced in-depth insights into the origins and development of competition law in Europe, while challenging them to grapple with the theme of the ‘contestedness’, as manifest in the ‘reformation’ of EU competition law’s substantive and enforcement aspects, and in the ‘counter-reformation’ movement. Various processes of ‘modernisation’ will be studied, for example in relation to Article 101 and Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in order to illustrate discontinuities of varying degree between legal doctrine and day-to-day practice, and between law and policy.
The teacher in this subject is one of Europe’s leading competition law scholars who has published extensively and taught around the world.
Principal topics include:
- Competition law in the context of the European integration process
- Intellectual origins of EU competition law
- The law on vertical restraints in a common law context
- The rise of alternative visions for EU competition law and for the European Commission
- Article 101 TFEU – reformation and counter-reformation
- The activation of EU competition law enforcement at the level of the Member States
- Article 102 TFEU – reformation and counter-reformation
- The Member States as ‘subjects’ of competition law
- Current trends in the law and enforcement of EU competition law: institutionalising contestedness.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the debates regarding the goals and functions of EU competition law; the historical reasons for those debates; and how the debates may shape policy and judicial choices as well as case outcomes
- Be able to articulate the EU law principles and criteria that apply in a variety of contexts relating to restrictive commercial agreements, concerted practices and unilateral conduct
- Be able to critically examine and analyse those principles and criteria from different perspectives, including, among others, a welfare perspective, a ‘competitive process’ perspective and an internal market perspective
- Have an advanced understanding of the EU’s multi-level enforcement system, its historical evolution and its current process of reform
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to develop critical and creative ideas in relation to particular problems that arise in different kinds of cases---including for example those where the effects of commercial conduct are efficiency-enhancing, and where a decision-maker may therefore have to go beyond a simple application of rules to facts
- Be able to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding both those areas in which EU competition law exhibits coherence and those areas where underlying differences lead to inconsistencies in the law, such as for example in the context of Article 102 TFEU
- Be able to demonstrate an advanced understanding of the distinctive Treaty-based and judge-made disciplines under the law that constrain certain rent-creation and rent-seeking behaviour by, respectively, the EU Member States and commercial operators privileged by them
- Be able to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of EU competition law
- Display an excellent understanding of the latest trends that are shaping the law and enforcement practice of competition law in Europe.
Last updated: 12 November 2021