The Market Court’s recent judgment in the power line cartel case again indicates tightening scrutiny of the burden of proof and the rights of defence in competition law proceedings in Finland. However, if the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) infringes the right of defence, which remedies are available to the parties? The case highlights some important differences from the EU system.
In recent years leniency programmes have been introduced in more or less all jurisdictions with competition law regulations in place. Today, leniency programmes are seen as an important instrument to fight cartels.
In Denmark, a leniency programme was introduced in the 2007 revision of the Danish Competition Act. According to the programme a leniency applicant (both the company and individuals) would receive immunity or reduction with respect to fines for certain competition law infringements (cartel infringements). However, for many years no applications were submitted. Still, the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority insisted that cartels in Denmark were in place and argued that the low level of fines and penalties in Denmark were the main reason to that no companies saw an interest in filing for leniency or perhaps even to exit a cartel.