Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Archive for September 14th, 2012

The Friday Slot (11) – Bernard van de Walle de Ghelcke

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It’s been a while since we last had someone on the Friday Slot. For this new start, Bernard van de Walle de Ghelcke (Linklaters) has accepted to answer our questions. I met Bernard when I started as the bag-carrier at the GCLC, and we then worked together when he latter served as President. Bernard is a “gentleman” competition lawyer, a thorough expert of Regulation 1/2003 and on top of this someone who has relentlessly worked to foster debate on competition issues. Think of his role at the GCLC or at the head of the main Belgian competition gazette. He also has a strong track record of being able to communicate his passions to other. In addition to the many students he introduced to EU law at the College of Europe, his son is a young, enthusiastic antitrust lawyer at a Brussels law-firm.

1. “Oscar” of the best competition law book? And of the best non-competition law book?

I have always “Bellamy and Child” close to hand (and “the” Kerse for Antitrust procedure). However it is striking how increasingly textbooks seem to lose importance. One looks “life” at the case law as well as to recent specialized publications. As a practitioner our workload does not allow much academic reading unfortunately and we have to focus on the literature needed for a specific case. As regards competition law theory I often go back to the masterpiece “Politique de la Concurrence de la CEE” by the late Jacques A. Vandamme. It was early days of EC competition law but all the founding principles are there.

Outside competition law there are so many … I still consult De Page, Droit civil belge, Van Ryn & Heenen, Principes de droit commercial belge and W. Van Gerven’s “Algemeen deel” in Beginselen van Belgisch privaatrecht. As I am very interested in EU institutional law, K. Lenaerts’ “Constitutional Law of the European Union” is a must as well as the Wyatt and Dashwood “European Union law”.

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

Best : the Court of Justice case law applying fundamental rights (Kadi) …. Worst : the same case law where it is timid or dismissive and fails to take all consequences.

The case law on parental liability is very troubling.

3. Let’s do it like economists => assume that you could change 3 rules, principles, judgments, institutions in the current EU competition system. What would you do?

  • I know it is not realistic and maybe against a trend but separate investigation, prosecution and decision for antitrust enforcement. This is the only decent system in an “état de droit”. Or why did we have Montesquieu for ?
  • Force the Commission to also adopt positive decisions.
  • Revisit the whole system and test it as to what competition law enforcement does for competitivity, industrial policy, employment and welfare.

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Written by Nicolas Petit

14 September 2012 at 5:05 pm

Posted in The Friday Slot