Assessing the Effectiveness of Competition Law Enforcement Policy in Relation to Cartels

Priit Mändmaa


Despite the high fines for cartel infringements it is claimed that the current competition law enforcement lacks deterrent effect for the avoidance of cartel infringements and is procedurally fragile. This article analyses the current competition law enforcement policy in relation to cartels. More specifically, the article assesses the effectiveness of the policy in deterring the formation of cartels and pursuing the goals of competition law by analysing the theory of deterrence, case law, procedural norms, imposed fines and academic literature. The main conclusions are that wrong targets are aimed at under the deterrence principle, the proceedings are of a criminal law nature and require a separation of powers, and that the current level of fines does not pose a threat on the economy and continually fail to deter price-fixing.


Article 6 ECHR, Cartels, Competition law, Criminal proceedings, Deterrence.

Full Text:



Agerbeek, FR. 2010. EU Antitrust Fines and ECHR Fair Trial Rights. ECHR Blog, 19 May 2010 accessed 9 June 2014.

Andreangeli, A. and others. 2009. Enforcement by the Commission: The Decisional and Enforcement Structure in Antitrust Cases and the Commission’s Fining System. accessed 9 June 2014.

Baker, D. 2001. The Use of Criminal Law Remedies to Deter and Punish Cartels and Bid-Rigging. George Washington Law Review, 69, 693.

Barnett, TO. 2006. Seven Steps To Better Cartel Enforcement. European Competition Law Annual 2006, 141.

Beckenstein, AR. and Gabel, HL. 1986. The Economics of Antitrust Compliance. Southern Economic Journal, 52(3), 673. accessed 9 June 2014.

Bos, I. Schinkel, MP. 2006. On the Scope for the European Commission’s 2006 Fining Guidelines Under the Legal Maximum Fine. Journal of Competition Law & Economics.

Buccirossi, P. and others. 2009. Deterrence in Competition Law. Social Science Research Centre Berlin. accessed 9 June 2014.

Calvino, N. 2006. Public Enforcement in the EU: Deterrent Effect and Proportionality of Fines. European Competition Law Annual 2006, 317.

Cartlidge, H. New European Commission Guidelines on Competition Fines. OLSWANG. accessed 9 June 2014.

Commission. Cartel Statistics. (Last update 2 April 2014) accessed 9 June 2014.

Commission. 2005. Green Paper – Damages Actions for Breach of the EC Antitrust Rules. COM, 672. accessed 9 June 2014.

Commission. 2008. White Paper – Damages Actions for Breach of the EC Antitrust Rules. COM, 165. accessed 9 June 2014.

Connor, J.M. and Helmers, C.G. 2006. Statistics On Modern Private International Cartels, 1990-2005. Purdue University Working Paper No 06-11. accessed 9 June 2014.

Connor, J.M. 2004. Price-Fixing Overcharges: Legal and Economic Evidence. accessed 9 June 2014.

Connor, J.M. 2011. Has the European Commission Become More Severe in Punishing Cartels? Effects of the 2006 Guidelines. European Competition Law Review, 27.

Deloitte. 2007. The Deterrent Effect of Competition Enforcement by the OFT. OFT, 962. accessed 30 August 2013

Diemer, C. 2006. The Green Paper on Damages Actions for Breach of the EC Antitrust Rules. European Competition Law Review, 309.

Feinberg, R.M. 1985. The Enforcement and Effects of European Competition Policy: Results of a Survey of Legal Opinion. Journal of Common Market Studies, 23(4).

Forrester, I.S. 2009. Due Process in EC Competition Cases: a Distinguished Institution with Flawed Procedures. European Law Review, 817.

Forrester, I.S. MacLennan, J.F. and Dawes, A. 2010. EC Competition Law 2007-2009. Yearbook of European Law, 29(1), 363.

Geradin, D. and Henry, D. 2005. The EC Fining Policy for Violations of Competition Law: An Empirical

Review of the Commission Decisional Practice and the Community Courts’ Judgments. The Global Competition Law Centre Working Paper 03/05. accessed 9 June 2014.

Gordon, F. and Squires, D. 2008. The Deterrent Effect of UK Competition Enforcement. De Economist, 156(4). accessed 9 June 2014.

Gray, E. 2010. Cool, Calm…and Collecting Fines. Global Competition Review 13(11). accessed 9 June 2014

Hakopian, G. 2010. Criminalisation of EU Competition Law Enforcement – A Possibility After Lisbon?. The Competition Law Review, 7(1), 157.

Harding, C. and Gibbs, A. 2005. Why Go to Court in Europe? An Analysis of Cartel Appeals 1995-2004. European Law Review, 349.

Hodges, C.J.S. 2011. A Market-Based Competition Enforcement Policy. European Business Law Review, 261.

House of Lords European Union Select Committee. 2000. Strengthening the Role of the Hearing Officer in EC Competition Cases. 19th Report, Stationary Office Books.

Kroes, N. 2009. The Lessons Learned. (36th Annual Conference on International Antitrust Law and Policy, New York, 24 September 2009) accessed 9 June 2014.

Kuilwijk, K.J. and Phelan, D.R. 2010. On the Tax-Deductability of Fines for EC Competition Law Infringements. European Competition Law Review, 131.

Langus, G. and Motta, M. 2007. The Effect of EU Antitrust Investigations and Fines on a Firm’s Valuation. London: CERP Discussion Paper No 6176.

Langus, G. Motta, M. and Aguzzoni, L. 2010. The Effect of EU Antitrust Investigations and Fines on a Firm’s Valuation. accessed 9 June 2014.

Liman, A. 1977. The Paper Label Sentences: Critique. The Yale Journal, 86, 619.Lowe, P. 2009. Cartels, Fines, and Due Process. The Online Magazine for Global Competition Policy, 2. accessed 9 June 2014.

Ma, T.C. 2011. The Effect of Competition Law Enforcement on Economic Growth. Journal of Competition Law & Economics, 7(2), 301.

Möschel, W. 2011. Fines in European Competition Law. European Competition Law Review, 369.

Motta, M. 2008. On Cartel Deterrence and Fines in the European Union. European Competition Law Review, 209.

Pheasant, J. 2006. Damages Actions for Breach of the EC Antitrust Rules: The European Commission’s Green Paper. European Competition Law Review, 365.

Riley, A. 2010. The Modernisation of EU Anti-Cartel Enforcement: Will the Commission Grasp the Opportunity? European Competition Law Review, 191.

Slater, D. Thomas, S. and Waelbroeck, D. 2008. Competition law proceedings before the European Commission and the right to a fair treial: no need for reform? The Global Competition Law Centre Working Paper 04/08.

Tait, N. 2008. Brussels Urged to Cut Cartel Fines. Financial Times (24 January 2008). accessed 9 June 2014.

Tyler, T. 1990. Why People Obey the Law. Yale University Press.

Veljanovski, C. 2007. Cartel Fines in Europe: Law, Practice and Deterrence. World Competition, 30(1), 65.

Veljanovski, C. 2010a. European Cartel Fines Under the 2006 Penalty Guidelines: A Statistical Analysis’. accessed 9 June 2014.

Veljanovski, C. 2010b. European Commission Cartel Prosecutions and Fines, 1998-2006: An Updated Statistical Analysis of Fines Under the 1998 Penalty Guidelines. accessed 9 June 2014.

Walsh, D.J. 2009. Carrots and Sticks – Leniency and Fines in EC Cartel Cases. European Competition Law Review, 30.

Weiss, W. 2011. Human Rights and EU Antitrust Enforcement: News From Lisbon. European Competition Law Review, 186.

Wils, W.P.J. 2004. The Combination of the Investigative and Prosecutorial Function and the Adjudicative Function in EC Antitrust Enforcement: A Legal and Economic Analysis. World Competition, 27(2), 201. accessed 9 June 2014.

Wils, W.P.J. 2006. Is Criminalization of EU Competition Law the Answer? European Competition Law Annual 2006, 267.

Wils, W.P.J. 2010. The Increased Level of EU Antitrust Fines, Judicial Review, and the European Convention on Human Rights. World Competition, 33(1). accessed 9 June 2014.



  • There are currently no refbacks.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


If you find difficulties in submitting manuscript please forward your doc file to Our support team will assist you in submission process and other technical matters.

In order to get notifications on inbox please add in your email safe list.

Journal of Arts and Humanities (Print) ISSN:2167-9045

Journal of Arts and Humanities (Online) ISSN: 2167-9053