This course is designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to the cartel prohibition in the EU. From laying out the foundational knowledge about cartels within European competition law, introducing economic theories that embed European competition policy, to engaging participants in practical exercises in the top law firm, the course aims to stimulate skills that are necessary to succeed in the contemporary European competition law field. It will also introduce students to hot topics in the field, including the challenges raised by technology on the digital markets, such as algorithmic tacit collusion.
A well-functioning internal market within the EU requires a fair and undistorted competition. Thus, European competition law lies at the very heart of the European integration project. The Treaty of the Functioning ‘TFEU’ enshrined strict rules to protect against unfair competition via Art.101 and Art.102 TFEU.
This course deals with the challenges raised by cartels (Art.101 TFEU) from the law and economics perspectives. According to the European Commission, ‘a cartel is a group of similar, independent companies which join together to fix prices, limit production or to share markets and customers amongst them.’ To avoid competition, cartel members rely on each other’s agreed course of action, which lead to consumer harm in forms of higher prices, lower output or stifled quality and innovation.
The central theme in this course is how cartels are prevented, detected, combatted and compensated under European competition law. The aim is to give students insights into how unfair competition occurs in practice, how it can be prevented and how to react if unfair competition is detected within a company. To that end, students will participate in a mock trial, receive lectures from top-notch professors and will visit Dentons Boekel law firm in the Netherlands to learn more about competition law in practice.
In addition, the participants will be immersed into economic theories upon which European competition policy is grounded. It is one of the highlights of the course, allowing students to fully understand the reasoning behind why these rules exist.
Finally, digital markets constantly challenge the ways in which competition policy is enforced. The programme, thus, includes an insight into potential issues raised by the widespread adaptation of technology, including now hotly-debated algorithmic collusion.
During the last day of the course, students will give a short presentation in which they will comment on (the effects of) a famous cartel in their home country. This presentation can be transformed into a paper, which will make up the final grade for the course.
This course connects closely to the ‘Financial Law and Economics’ course. Both courses are included in the special track ‘Highlights of Law and Economics’.
Prof. mr. Anna Gerbrandy
Dr. Matteo Gargantini
Dr. Jasper Sluijs
Housing through Utrecht Summer School
Viktorija Morozovaite LLM