Swedish Market Court makes reference to the European Commission on standing for municipalities in the application of competition rules

26 March 2007

Henrik Nilsson

The Swedish Market Court, the final court for cases brought under the Competition Act, has for the first time decided to apply Article 15 paragraph 1 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003, and make reference to the European Commission for its opinion.

As reported in the article ”Swedish Market Court makes ECJ reference about collecting society tariffs for music in television broadcasts”, the Swedish Market Court on 15 November 2006 found that while two municipalities did have standing under the Swedish Competition Act, the Court would not grant an interlocutory injunction requiring an electricity utility company to continue to supply municipal street lighting services.

In a new decision on 21 December 2006, the Market Court has referred to the European Commission for its opinion on whether the municipalities should have standing under the circumstances.

The response from the Commission is likely to have an impact on a cluster of separate private enforcement cases, in which several Swedish municipalities are seeking damages from major construction companies in an alleged asphalt-laying cartel. In these cases, the Svea Court of Appeal has found that the municipalities did have standing under the Competition Act.

Source: Market Court decision 21 December 2006 in case A 4/06, (in Swedish only)