Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

The Microsoft and Telefónica hearings-towards stricter judicial review of Art. 102 TFEU cases?

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Something might be moving at the European Courts.

According to some of the people who attended the hearings held last week before the General Court on the Microsoft and Telefónica cases, the Judges in Luxembourg showed an unusual interest in the details of both cases and asked an unusual number of well-thought out questions. This was also reflected on the duration of the hearings: I hear that the one on the Telefónica case finished around 21.00 pm, which is quite unusual too.

According to my sources, the members of the Second Chamber were particularly eager to listen to the oral arguments on the Microsoft case. (By the way, some of Nicolas´opinion with regards to this case have been widely quoted in the media; see here).

 It will be most interesting to see  how the General Court deals now with the second part of this case, particularly given that the Judgment issued with regards to the main original decision may not have pleased all of its members. 

In this sense, it  is worth noting that Judge Forwood (President of Chamber) is the Rapporteur on this case and the one who asked all questions. Judge Forwood has been reported to be amongst the 6 Judges who lost the vote on the Microsoft Judgment by a margin of one  (click here for more info on this).

The EU Courts´ stance in relation to the appropriate degree of  judicial review in abuse of dominance cases will be put to test in other pending cases. The ECJ´s Judgment on the appeal against the General Court´s  Judgment in Tomra could be of particular interest for the future in light of the limited review undertaken by the GC. In fact, I hear that the Intel case -currently pending before the GC- may be slowed down so as to wait for the ECJ to state its position on the obligations incumbent upon the Commission and the Courts with respect to the assessment of the effects of a given practice.

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

30 May 2011 at 7:28 pm

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