The Nature of EC Competition Proceedings: Should Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights Be Applicable in Such Proceedings?

Justina Balčiūnaitė


While examining the infringements of Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty of the European Community (hereinafter referred to as the Treaty) the European Commission bases its actions on the provisions of the Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 of 16 December 2002 on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty (hereinafter referred to as the Regulation No. 1/2003). Because of a very wide discretion of the European Commission provided for by the abovementioned legislation, because of the amount of fines which can be imposed on companies which infringe the EC competition rules as well as because of other aspects one may consider whether the proceedings of the EC competition law amount to criminal proceedings, according to which the rights set forth in Article 6 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (hereinafter referred to as the Convention) must be granted to persons accused of a criminal offence.


EC competition law; qualification of an offence; criminal charge; nature of an offence; nature and severity of a sanction; fines imposed by the European Commission; case law of the European Court of Human Rights; Engel criterions

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236