Media EU Competition Law Briefing - European Commission Dawn Raids: the General Court’s judgments in the French supermarket cases

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Edmon Oude Elferink will present on the judgments of the General Court in the French supermarket cases of 5 October 2020 (T-249/17, T-254/17 and T-255/17).

These judgments are relevant since the General Court considered that the Commission’s dawn raids in 2017 were lawful to the extent that the Commission had enough evidence to suspect information sharing over discounts obtained in the supply of consumer products and charges for services to the producers of branded-products. But the Commission did not have sufficiently strong evidence to suspect exchanges of information concerning the future commercial strategies of the French supermarkets. This is why the General Court partially annulled the inspection decisions of the Commission.

The General Court addresses a number of interesting questions, for instance on the interplay between the Commission’s investigatory powers and the protection of the employees’ data in accordance with (what is now) the GDPR. It also considers that interviews with third parties (suppliers) conducted by the Commission before the formal opening of the investigation are capable of being evidence, even if they are not recorded.

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