Important Changes Into Romanian Competition Law - An Overview

On 8 June 2017, Emergency Government Ordinance 39/2017 ("EGO 39") entered into force and brought a number of important changes to the Romanian Competition law. The EGO transposes the EU Damages Directive (2014/104/EU) into Romanian law and introduces a number of other changes into Romanian competition law, including inter alia: (i) a specific obligation incumbent upon modern retailers to provide, (upon request), information to the Competition Council regarding their resale prices; (ii) additional powers of the Romanian Competition Council ('RCC') during dawn raids.

The following provides an overview of the most important changes:

PRIVATE ENFORCEMENT OF ANTITRUST DAMAGES MADE EASIER

Following years of consultations, the European Commission published the Damages Directive in 2014, which aims at facilitating the private enforcement of claims before national courts for damages after competition law infringements. Below is a brief overview of the main provisions of the transposition of the Damages Directive into Romanian law.

One competent Court

All claims for damages, irrespective of value, are to be filed with the Bucharest Tribunal, thereby increasing the chances of a relatively unitary and predictive court practice.

Shift of the burden of proof in favor of the injured party

In case of a cartel between competitors, a rebuttable legal presumption is introduced that the cartel caused harm. The defendant can rebut the presumption, but bears the burden of proof.

Limitation period of claims for damages

Damage claims for competition law infringements will only become time-barred after five years (as opposed to three years for regular claims for damages); the new limitation period will only begin when the claimant knows or can be expected to know of the identity of the infringer, the relevant conduct, of the harm being caused by that conduct and of the fact that the conduct constitutes an infringement of competition law.

The limitation periods are suspended when a competition authority takes investigative measures with regard to the respective infringement. The suspension ends one year after the investigation or valid decision by the authorities.

Access to evidence (disclosure)

Civil courts are entitled to order, upon request of the claimant (or the defendant), the disclosure of evidence from anyone who has such evidence. In contrast to other member states, a request for disclosure can only be filed with or after filing the claim. "Pre-trial...

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