Principle of economic succession in private enforcement to come under Supreme Court´s scrutiny

Government Contracts Alert

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In October 2016, the Appeal Court of Helsinki, altering the judgement of Helsinki District Court, held that certain companies, which had acquired the business or equity of asphalt cartel companies after the infringement had ended, were not liable for damages towards the claimants. The Appeal Court argued that the EU competition law principle of economic succession, which applies to administrative fines, is not applicable in private enforcement and that liability for damages is a matter that has to be examined under national law. The Appeal Court conclude that under national law there are no rules that would establish liability based on the economic succession alone.

The Supreme Court of Finland has now, on 9 September 2017 granted leave to appeal to the City of Vantaa regarding the question of liability based on the transfer of business of asphalt cartel companies. The Supreme Court´s ruling on the principle of economic succession in private enforcement is expected during 2018.

The Supreme Court also granted leave to appeal to Lemminkäinen Plc. regarding the question whether the company´s liability is decreased due to the fact that the liability of other cartel companies was time barred.