Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Antitrust Land

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Congratulations to Pablo González de Zárate Catón, a former LLM student at the University of Liege (2012-2013) now at Clifford Chance, who just published his LLM dissertation in the College of Europe Research Papers in Law series.

The dissertation was truly excellent. The introduction tells it all (a taste hereafter):

Let us imagine a city, Antitrust Land, divided in two parts by a river. The growth of the city depends on its capacity to attract visitors. One part of the city attracts a lot of visitors (cartelists) since it is very well connected in terms of access (leniency programmes) and is therefore very rich. Everybody looks happy about that part of the city: the Mayor (the European Commission), since the whole country talks nicely about its access infrastructures, and tourist services (law firms), as they make a lot of money with visitors. This part of the city is called Public Enforcement Town and its citizen is the abstract consumer.

The other part of the city is called Private Enforcement Town, where the concrete consumer lives. It is surrounded by mountains. As a result of this, it is clearly not as wealthy as the other one since visitors hardly ever pass by. Besides, the level of income greatly varies from one neighbourhood to another one as some parts of the town are better connected due to their own cableways. These three neighbourhoods are called United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands. At some point, somebody realizes that a bridge linking  both parts (disclosure of leniency materials) of the city could contribute to attract tourists to Private Enforcement Town and therefore to boost its economic growth. Nevertheless, tourist services are clearly against and they say that Private Enforcement Town is so ugly that tourists will immediately leave the city and never be back. They also say that with that bridge in the future nobody will be tempted to come to Antitrust Land.

The question is not as simple as ‘bridge: yes or no?’. If yes, it must also be decided its location. It could link the heart of both parts (total disclosure of leniency documents) or it could be built in the surroundings of the city (disclosure of preexisting documents).

What should the Mayor do?

Click here to download Pablo’s dissertation.

Written by Nicolas Petit

23 December 2013 at 12:00 pm

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