The course aims at providing students with an introduction to EU antitrust rules and case law, as well as to the underlying basic economic concepts and tools. Students will be presented with principles, notions and rules within the context of the broader policy issues at stake and invited to discuss their interrelations. The course also encourages students to learn through analysis and critical discussion of cases, with a view to stimulating debate on the application of rules to specific factual scenarios, use of argumentation and development of convincing skills.
Expected learning outcomes
By the end of this course, students should be able to: - Understand the fundamental principles of Antitrust Law and the connected economic tools and methods. - Select, interpret and apply argumentatively the relevant bodies of laws and the relevant precedents to specific cases, in a problem-solving perspective. - Understand the scope and role of rules, enforcement mechanisms, institutions, making autonomous judgements. - Use their communication skills (written and oral) to argue convincingly, expressing their knowledge with propriety of language within logical, legal and (basic) economic reasoning. - Deploy learning skills suitable to continue their education with a high degree of autonomy.
The course offers an introduction to EU antitrust law, covering the substantive aspects, the enforcement mechanisms and the institutional interplay between EU and national jurisdictions. It includes an overview of the basic notions and tools of economic analysis that are essential to understand the grounds and reasons of the rules and their application. The course also aims at providing students with knowledge of rules and case law within the context of the broader policy issues at stake.
The substantive contents will cover the three main areas of restrictive agreements, abuses of dominant position and merger control, and will be illustrated and discussed through the analysis of cases. Specific attention will be devoted to certain business conducts (such as cartels, predatory practices, access to essential facilities) and to emerging phenomena such as big data (algorithms and tacit collusion; price discrimination; abuses in data collection), e-commerce and platforms (market power and market definition in two- sided markets).
The main contents of the course are the following
I. Introduction: structure of the rules, role of economics, institutions and enforcement mechanisms II. Basic legal concepts ("undertaking", "restriction of competition", "dominance", "abuse") III. Basic economic concepts (competition and monopoly, market power, consumer welfare) IV. The goals of competition law; competition models and economic efficiency; "non-economic" goals V. Restrictive agreements (art. 101.1 TFUE, cartels, concerted practices, exchange of information amongst competitors) VI. Art. 101.3 - Cooperation amongst competitors; vertical agreements (elements) VII. Dominance (art. 102 TFUE, market definition, notion of dominant position) VIII. Abuse of dominance (categories of exclusionary and exploitative abuses) IX. Merger control (EU merger regulation, notion of concentration and control, procedural elements, substantive criteria) X. Enforcement (Public vs Private enforcement; administrative fines and deterrence; the European Damages Directive)
Prerequisites for admission
Class attendance is mandatory. Suggested readings and didactic materials for each class will be made available in advance, on the web page of the course (ARIEL). Students are advised to read the assigned materials before classes, and will be required to actively participate in the discussion and illustration of rules, decisions, and case studies. A moot court exercise will be carried out during the course.
Lectures will be based on specific reading materials indicated prior to each class.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Moot courts and case studies will constitute part of the final assessment. The final mark consists of an overall assessment of all the activities carried out by each student throughout the course: active participation (20%), case studies and presentations (20%), moot court (25%), final written test (35%). The final exam will be a written (open book) test, that will consist in providing a reasoned position within a case situation. It will be held at the end of the course: students will have 2 hours to complete the test. Grade will be on the basis of 30 points and will be posted on the Ariel web page of the course. Students who do not accept their grade in the final written test can register for an oral examination on all the contents of the course. With a view to familiarize students with the written test methodology, in the final weeks a mock written test will be conducted: students shall be required to draft at home the assigned paper, that will be then reviewed and returned individually (results will not be part of the final assessment); a discussion on methodology and content referred to the provided case situation will be conducted in class.