Procedural fairness in competition proceedings

Call for papers

The Academic Society for Competition Law (ASCOLA) will hold its 9th annual conference on 26th, 27th and 28th of June 2014 at the University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, Warsaw, Poland. The conference will be organised by the Centre for Antitrust and Regulatory Studies (CARS), created in 2007.

General approach

The substantive rules of competition law prohibiting practices restricting competition and those regulating concentrations are becoming more and more alike all over the world. By contrast, significantly less synchronization takes place with respect to the procedural standards that govern the enforcement of substantive rules of competition law. This raises the question whether convergence is desirable between these procedural rules and, if the answer is to be yes, what sort of convergence should follow.

During the conference, these issues will be discussed in the light of all existing jurisdictions. American, Asian and any other scholars are encouraged to present their national experiences in the context of regional or world-wide developments. European scholars in particular, are expected to be especially sensitive, when addressing them, to the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of EU Regulations 1/2003 & 139/2004, which organise the application of competition law by national and European institutions. The discussion should incorporate the perspective of countries that have only recently started to build their competition law systems, such as those of Central and Eastern Europe. On the basis of these discussions, it could/should be possible to formulate propositions de lege lata and de lege ferenda for any of the legal systems under discussion.

Questions papers could address

Within the concept of procedural fairness, we have distinguished 6 categories of rights:
(1) right to be heard: access of parties and other interested entities to information on the proceedings and to evidence collected in the case file, direct contact with the decision-maker – access to oral hearings, proper justification of anticompetitive charges raised as well as of the final decision;
(2) right to participate: standing in the proceedings including the question whether other entities and if yes which ones, aside from those suspected to have infringed competition law, should have the right to participate in the competition proceedings;
(3) right of defence: protection of the privilege against self-incrimination, protection of the legal professional privilege, guarantees of proportionality of inspections;
(4) right to protect business secrets and other confidential information: obligation to reveal business secrets and other confidential information by the scrutinized undertakings in the course of competition proceedings as well as others’ rights to have access to evidence forming the basis of the decision;
(5) right to judicial review: scope of judicial control over competition proceedings;
(6) other rights, rights combinations & general issues.

The conference papers are welcome to be built around any of the guarantees of procedural fairness listed above or any combination thereof. Other submissions regarding the topic of the conference and not necessarily related to any of these categories are also welcome. The conference is not limited to any specific legal order in particular but on the contrary aims at having a discussion on the evolution of these rights in general. The papers should facilitate a discussion of different solutions to similar problems that influence the level of the observance of procedural fairness in competition proceedings wherever such proceedings may take place. In the European context, the importance of the European Convention on Human Rights may be discussed also in light of EU’s accession to this Convention.

Submission and publication of papers

Interested participants are invited to submit papers or extended abstracts as soon as possible, but no later than the end of February 2014. Provided their author(s) agree(s) thereto, the papers will be published on the conference website. Comments’ to already available papers can also be sent, they will likewise be published on-line. Non-members can submit papers and take advantage of that opportunity to apply for membership.

The contributions will be evaluated individually, and decisions made, on a first come first serve basis. It is thus in the best interest of authors to submit their papers or abstracts as early as possible as ASCOLA reimburses the travel costs of speakers (see the paragraph relating to the reimbursement policy). Contributions for presentation in each relevant panel and for publication in the ‘ASCOLA Conference 2014 Working Papers’ will be selected by the conference organizing Committee.

There is no limit to the length of papers submitted for evaluation and on-line publication albeit the resulting presentations are not expected to last longer than 20 minutes. The limit on publication by Edward Elgar will likely be in the region of 15-20 pages.

Any question regarding the submission of papers can be addressed to the organising committee. Interested authors are welcome to contact the address below to discuss their contribution before submitting it.

Awards, costs

ASCOLA will cover the travel and accommodation costs of speakers selected for the panels concerning procedural fairness. For more information, see the conference website.

During the conference, a “Best Paper Award” will be handed over to the author whose contribution will have been deemed to be the most rigorous and innovative among those presented.

Similarly, a Certificate for the “Most Promising Young Scholar” will be delivered to a scholar under 35 years of age selected among those having submitting a paper.

Workshop on competition policy developments

During the conference, a workshop will be organised on developments in competition policy worldwide. This workshop may allow ASCOLA members to participate in the conference with financial assistance from their home country even if their submission is not related to procedural fairness.

Information, contact

The email address for the conference is: cars@wz.uw.edu.pl. Papers as well as all questions, comments and conference correspondence can be directed to that address. More information can be obtained through the conference website: www.ASCOLA-conference-2014.wz.uw.edu.pl.

Warsaw, June 2013 (revised October 2013)