The Proposed Damages Legislation: Don't Believe the Critics

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The European Commission's proposed Directive concerning private enforcement of Competition Law certainly would be beneficial for victims of anticompetitive conduct because it would allow some victims to obtain a certain degree of compensation. It does not, however, go nearly far enough. Because it does not allow opt-out class action or contingent fee cases it will continue to leave most victims uncompensated.

Some critics claim the proposed Directive will move Europe closer towards a US-style of private antitrust enforcement that they characterize in almost apocalyptic terms. Nevertheless, anyone interested in learning lessons from the US experience should take note that these critics have never offered reliable proof of its alleged defects. This short article shows that private enforcement in the United States has in fact been beneficial in many ways.