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Archive for February 17th, 2012

The Friday Slot (5) – Jean-François Bellis

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For this fifth edition of the Friday Slot, Chillin’Competition has interviewed a true master competition lawyer, Jean-François Bellis (Van Bael & Bellis, Brussels). The ITW tells it all, Jean-François is a person with many facets, i.e. litigator, entrepreneur, academic, teacher, etc. And the thing is, on all those fronts, he just stands out… It is a great honour for us to publish today his stimulating, inspirational interview.

Oscar” of the best competition law book? Non-competition book?

Without question, the Van Bael & Bellis competition law book, now in its fifth edition, should win the prize! Seriously now, in my view, the most influential competition law book ever written is Robert Bork, “The Antitrust Paradox”, which so powerfully contributed to establishing the current accepted wisdom that the aim of competition law is to maximize consumer welfare. It is difficult to find a competition law book that has had as significant an effect on the practice of antitrust/competition law.

On the non-competition side, there is an embarrassment of riches. I have great respect for Orwell who, among other things, deserves the Oscar for the best opening line (“The idea really came to me the day I got my new false teeth” in “Coming up for Air”). But, as a lawyer, my vote will go to “The Trial” by Kafka. Quite fittingly, this book was one of the highlights of the course on literature in the first year of my law studies at the University of Brussels. Since I began practicing competition law, I had the impression of performing in it more than once.

Oscar” of the best case-law development in the past year? “Oscar” of the worst case-law development? 

The KME judgment issued by the Court of Justice on 8 December 2011 may turn out to be a landmark case in that it spells out the concept of full review in competition cases. To some extent, it mirrors the Strasbourg Court Menarini judgment issued on 27 September 2011 which affirmed the consistency with Article 6 of the Convention of administrative enforcement procedures provided that they are subject to full review by an independent court.

In terms of worst case-law development, I am concerned that the Court of Justice’s revisiting of parent liability issues last year may be generating uncertainty, and fear that this could potentially have unintended consequences in other areas of EU competition law (such as the possibility that Article 101 TFEU may be applied to intra-enterprise agreements between subsidiaries of the same group).

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Written by Nicolas Petit

17 February 2012 at 7:11 pm

Posted in The Friday Slot