Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Private Enforcement of Competition Law and Stand-Alone Actions in Hungary

Pal Szilagyi, Competition Law Research Centre; Peter Pazmany Catholic University discusses Private Enforcement of Competition Law and Stand-Alone Actions in Hungary.

ABSTRACT: In this article I evaluate the available case law (16 cases) on the private enforcement of Hungarian and EU competition rules in stand-alone actions. Before 1st of November 2005 it was not clear whether it was possible to initiate stand-alone actions based on Articles 11 (anticompetitive agreements) and 21 (abuse of a dominant position) of the Hungarian Competition Act (HCA). The courts interpreted the law in a way which in their opinion prevented the direct application of competition rules by the courts. The law was therefore amended in November 2005 and the HCA directly allows for private actions.

In recent years the number of reported cases grew, but basically all of them were either unfounded or frivolous. In most of the cases the parties were just trying to invoke every legal norm which might aid them and somehow they found that the wording of the HCA might be useful. In most of the cases it turned out that relying on the HCA had no merits at all. Most of the judgements are either not discussing the competition issues at all, or only reflect to the arguments of the parties briefly. Only some cases go into the details and have a meaningful discussion of the provisions of the HCA and whether they are applicable or not. The article depicts a very unsatisfactory situation and provides a thorough overview of the recent case law.

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