Summary of the conference: Main issues on consumer protection & sharing economy (UOC)

In June, I gave a presentation on “Main issues on consumer protection & sharing economy” at the 14th International Conference on Internet, Law & Politics organized by Faculty of Law & Political Science at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. Here’s a summary of my presentation:

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Consumentenkoop 2016 (TvC 2018) – available in Dutch

Deze kroniek geeft een overzicht van de belangrijkste tendensen in de rechtspraak betreffende de consumentenkoop tijdens het jaar 2016. In de eerste plaats wordt het arrest Wathelet van het Hof van Justitie besproken. Vervolgens wordt ingegaan op de Nederlandse rechtspraak met betrekking tot de beoordeling van de conformiteit van tweedehandsauto’s en van huisdieren, inmiddels traditionele topics in de kroniek Consumentenkoop. Er wordt ook stilgestaan bij de ontbindingssanctie en de taakverdeling tussen de rechter en de partijen in het proces. Totslot volgt een korte update over de stand van zaken met betrekking tot de richtlijnvoorstellen betreffende de online en andere verkoop op afstand van goederen en de levering van digitale inhoud.

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Can an agreement that was void at any moment due to a violation of competition law be revived?

Crosspost from Monard Law

When a court invalidates an agreement because the rules of contract law were violated (for example because the agreement was concluded as a result of a mistake or deception), then that agreement is deemed to have never existed. It was never valid and never will be valid. Aside from a few exceptions, everything that has already been performed under the agreement must be undone. If an agreement is invalidated for violation of competition law, the consequences are less clear.

It is possible that at the time of concluding a contract the agreement is already in violation of Belgian and/or European competition law because, for example, a producer imposes minimum selling prices on a distributor. In that case, it is also deemed that the agreement never existed.

However, it is also possible that at the time of its conclusion, an agreement benefits from a competition law block exemption, such as exists for distribution agreements, technology transfer agreements and so forth. The agreement is then deemed not to be in conflict with Belgian or European competition law.

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Judges training on private enforcement after the Antitrust Damages Directive

by Maria Geilmann and Caroline Cauffman

On 30 November and 1 December 2017, Maastricht University and Lexxion publishers organized a high level seminar aimed at the training of national judges in the private enforcement of competition law after the implementation of the Antitrust Damages Directive (Directive 2014/104/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 November 2014 on certain rules governing actions for damages under national law for infringements of the competition law provisions of the Member States and of the European Union Text with EEA relevance OJ L 349, 5.12.2014, p. 1–19). The training was co-financed by the European Commission as a part of the project of the Directorate-General for Competition “Training of national judges and judicial cooperation in the field of EU competition law”.

After an introduction by dr. Caroline Cauffman (Maastricht University) and prof. em. Jacques Steenbergen (Belgian Competition Authority), Johannes Holzwarth and Hans-Petter Hanson (Officials of the European Commission), gave an overview of the state of play of the transposition in the Member States. Most Member States have transposed the Directive, only three Member States still need to do so (Greece, Portugal and Bulgaria). Currently, the Commission is checking the transposition in terms of completeness, in a second stage, it will check the conformity of the transposition with the Directive. The Commission officials also presented the current state of their guidelines on the passing-on effect and they gave us a very detailed presentation on the economic aspects of passing-on.

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