1 year ago



38 It could therefore be

38 It could therefore be concluded that changes in competition enforcement seem unnecessary. However, many academics have discussed the advantages of establishing a professional and independent competition law court. 161 The creation and development of the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal, which is a specialised administrative body, has subsequently been evaluated. The decisions of the Competition and Markets Authority can be appealed to the Tribunal, which carries out a review on fines as well as a control of legality, of merger decisions. 162 Nonetheless, it may be contested that whether Article 257 of the TFEU empowers to establish an EU competition court. 163 3. Balance between Effective Enforcement and Companies’ Procedural Rights Having regard to the analysis above, it might be admitted that companies’ rights in competition proceedings are protected and this practice has met the requirement under Article 6(1) of the ECHR. The judicial deference may benefit the Commission’s enforcement, yet an issue related to the maintenance of the current judicial review occurs. 164 Furthermore, one may need to think of the balance between the effective enforcement and the sufficient protection of fundamental rights. This article would support a more effective enforcement, which benefits the market and consumers. Firstly, there is an emerging debate concerning the extent and intensity to which companies’ rights have not been excessively protected in competition enforcement system. 165 Commentators have claimed that granting a complete due process guarantee to companies is not necessary, and the recognition of all due process safeguards would impair the effectiveness of competition enforcement. Furthermore, the opinion of Graells and Marcos argued that EU competition law nevertheless plays a key role in maintaining one of the 161 Graells (n 39) 11. 162 Laguna De Paz (n 84) 8. 163 Lianos and Andreangeli (n 48) 438. 164 Maciej Bernatt, ‘The Compatibility of Deferential Standard of Judicial Review in the EU Competition Proceedings with Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights’ Research paper in Loyola University Chicago School of Law 2013-2014. 165 Graells, A & Marcos, F ‘“Human Rights” Protection for Corporate Antitrust Defendants: Are We not Going Overboard?’ 11 accessed 26 September 2016.

39 fundamental safeguards of the undistorted market economy, and thus this excessive due process rights protections will lead to a less efficient market economy. 166 With respect to the due process rights, although there are internal checks and balances, they do not constitute formal proceedings followed by stringent procedural protections. Consequently, these internal guarantees would still have to be examined by the EU competition enforcement system. It then caused a problem that the Commission’s internal procedures cannot recover the inadequacies of the broader enforcement model. Accordingly, the kind of procedural rights protection would deteriorate the due process system. 167 Having addressed these problems, effective competition enforcement outweighs the further protection of fundamental rights. V. Conclusions This article has provided a framework of how the EU established its fundamental rights legal order and, to a further extent, analysed the current protection of companies’ fundamental rights. In line with the case law, the ECHR is applicable to both natural and legal persons; therefore, companies are subject to the safeguards afforded by the ECHR. Companies’ fundamental rights are particularly protected in competition proceedings, which are carried out by the Commission. As the justice and fairness in administrative proceeding becomes far more important in the EU, companies, as antitrust defendants, may defend their fundamental rights according to a strong basis of law and regulation. Moreover, the EUCFR is now bound to the EU, which means that the EU should show respect for the fundamental rights order and comply with the Charter. Accordingly, the critical points of companies’ fundamental rights to a fair trial and a fair hearing in competition proceeding has generated a large number of legal debates. The issues concerning the competition enforcement and its compliance with the ECHR have been examined in this work. In accordance with the results of Section II’s assessments, it is clear that the current competition enforcement is compliant with Article 6(1) of the ECHR, and it is unnecessary to amend the enforcement procedures. In addition, with the recent creation of the Best Practice Package concerning antitrust cases, this internal check in the 166 Ibid, 15-16. 167 MacGregor and Gecic (n 134) 437.

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