The post of the Hearing Officer was first established in 1982 to enhance impartiality and objectivity in competition proceedings before the Commission. Over the years, the significance of the post has increased, leading to enhanced terms of reference in 1994, 2001 and 2011. The Hearing Officers are not part of the Directorate-General for Competition (DG Competition). For administrative purposes, the Hearing Officers are attached to the Competition Commissioner. They must act independently in the exercise of their functions.
The Hearing Officer is responsible for organising and conducting oral hearings and acting as an independent arbiter when a dispute about the effective exercise of procedural rights between parties and DG Competition arises in antitrust and merger proceedings. In such matters, the Hearing Officer generally intervenes only when a dispute cannot be resolved by the parties and DG Competition. The Hearing Officer also decides on applications to be heard by third parties in the proceedings. Such applications must be submitted directly to the Hearing Officer.
Please note that the Hearing Officer is not in charge of receiving complaints or information concerning suspected infringements of competition law. If you are a citizen or an undertaking and you wish to inform the Commission about suspected anti-competitive practices, or if you wish to lodge a formal complaint, please submit your correspondence to DG Competition.
Decision 2011/695/EU of the President of the European Commission of 13 October 2011 on the function and terms of reference of the hearing officer in certain competition proceedings.
Most frequently asked questions about the Hearing Officers' mission and tasks in Competition cases proceedings.