Cartels: European lawyers stand up to cartelists

ECDA network of lawyers pooling expertise in antitrust law throughout Europe to support companies

A new supranational network of European law firms unites their expertise in private antitrust enforcement. The member law firms of the European Cartel Damage Alliance e.V. (ECDA) provide companies and public organisations that are victims of cartels with legal support across Europe in relation to the enforcement of their claims. In this context, clients may draw on the assistance of experts from about 20 European countries. The law firm Becker Büttner Held (BBH) is one of the members and co-founder of the alliance.

Whether high-voltage power cables, trucks or interest rate derivatives – cartels are not limited to certain areas of the economy. Where there is competition, there is often the risk of collusion, and customers or competitors may suffer severe damage.

The ECDA brings together renowned law firms from all over Europe specialising, among others, in antitrust law. The ECDA’s objective is to assist victims of cartels, providing them with information on their opportunities and risks and supporting them in enforcing their claims – both in and out of court. “By working together, we take advantage of the synergies as well as different places of jurisdiction and are thus able to handle cases with a pan-European dimension in a flexible manner providing advice at a cross-border level”, emphasises Prof. Christian Held, first chairperson of the ECDA and partner of the law firm Becker Büttner Held (BBH). “Only rarely are cartels purely national constructs, they usually have a European dimension”, adds Prof. Held.

It often takes a long time before parties affected by cartels realise that they are victims of price-fixing agreements.The ECDA members watch out for cartels on a rolling basis. This means that affected companies can be informed early on about their potential entitlement to claim damages, make arrangements to secure their claims in a timely fashion and thoroughly prepare their approach as well as the assertion of such claims.

If a case has to be brought before a court, the ECDA members not only provide legal advice but also offer further assistance. Through the cooperation with the litigation funder FORIS AG, victims of a cartel may also minimise their cost risks.

Becker Büttner Held is a leading provider of advisory services for energy and infrastructure companies and their customers. Energy and supply companies, particularly public utilities, municipalities and local authorities, industrial companies and international groups are among its core clients. BBH advises these and many other companies and organisations in all legal matters and also assists them with business and strategic advice.



Prof. Dr. Ines Zenke
lawyer, Partner
phone +49 (0)30 611 28 40-179

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