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Competition Policy

Targeted consultation on a draft Communication on the protection of confidential information for the private enforcement of EU competition law by national courts

Policy field

Competition: Private enforcement


Target group

Judges and other courts support staff, lawyers, economic experts, academics.


Consultation period

From 29.07.2019 to 18.10.2019


Objective of the consultation

Pursuant to the implementation of the Damages Directive 2014/104, in the context of the private enforcement of EU competition law, national courts have the power to order disclosure of evidence containing confidential information.

However, in this context, national courts may not have sufficient experience in dealing with confidential information. National courts are thus facing practical questions on how to protect effectively confidential information without jeopardising the interests of claimants (e.g. victims of infringements), in substantiating their claims. This brings a twofold risk:

  • National courts do not order disclosure of confidential information impeding the possibility to successfully claim damages;
  • Confidential information will be disclosed and enter in the public domain jeopardising the rights of parties and third parties to confidentiality.

With private enforcement actions on the rise, the aim of the draft Communication is to provide practical, non-binding and non-exclusive guidance to national courts in selecting the most effective measure to protect confidentiality (e.g. confidentiality ring, redactions, appointment of experts, etc.) when deciding on disclosure requests in the context of damages actions.

Since in private enforcement of competition law, relevant information is often commercially sensitive, it is very important that national courts strike the right balance between the right of claimants to access information relevant for their claim and the right of information owners to protect confidential information.


Consultation document


Reference documents and other related consultations

  • 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)


Contact details

Directorate-General for Competition, Unit A4

Please always indicate the reference number in your correspondence: Ref.: HT.3471

COMP-A4-MAILatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (COMP-A4-MAIL[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

Postal address:
European Commission
Directorate-General for Competition
Antitrust Registry
1049 Bruxelles / Brussel
Ref.: HT.3471


Contributions received

  • Abogacía Española es
  • American Bar Association (ABA) en
  • American Chamber of Commerce in Hungary (AmCham) hu
  • Asociación Española para la Defensa de la Competencia (AEDC) es
  • Association des Avocats Pratiquant le Droit de la Concurrence (APDC) fr
  • Association Française d’Etude de la Concurrence (AFEC) fr
  • Bundesministerium für Verfassung, Reformen, Deregulierung und Justiz, Austria de
  • Cartel Damage Claims (CDC) en
  • Dr Benedikt Freund de
  • Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP en
  • Hausfeld & Co. LLP and Hausfeld Rechtsanwälte LLP en
  • Hungarian Association of Competition Law/ Magyar Versenyjogi Egyesulet (MVE) hu
  • International Bar Association (IBA) en
  • Représentation Permanente de la France auprès de l’UE/ France fr
  • Sousa Ferro & Associados en
  • Svea Hovrätt sv