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 (the “Damages Directive“) has been transposed into Cyprus law.
The Damages Directive sets out rules necessary to ensure that anyone who has suffered harm caused by an infringement of competition law can effectively exercise the right to claim full compensation for that harm from the infringing undertakings. It moreover sets out rules fostering undistorted competition in the internal market and removing obstacles to its proper functioning, by ensuring equivalent protection throughout the Union for anyone who has suffered such harm.
The Damages Directive essentially reaffirmed the acquis communautaire on the right to compensation for harm caused by infringements of EU competition law. Anyone who has suffered harm caused by such an infringement can claim compensation for actual loss, for gain of which that person has been deprived, plus interest, irrespective of whether those categories are established separately or in combination in national law.
By transposing the Damages Directive into the Cypriot legal order, Cyprus is now in full alignment with EU competition law.
Disclosure of evidence
- Courts can order parties to disclose evidence when compensation is claimed
- a statutory mechanism exists for the protection of confidential business information disclosed in the context of judicial proceedings
- Courts can order for the disclosure of evidence in the records of the Commission for the Protection of Competition (CPC)
- Any undertaking, whether a direct or indirect purchaser, that has suffered harm may claim compensation
- The claimant carries the burden of proof for a passing-on of an overcharge
- Aggrieved parties are allowed 6 years to claim damages following the CPC’s final decision on the infringement
Proof of infringement
- A final decision of the CPC on an infringement automatically constitutes proof of that infringement before the courts of the EU country in which the infringement took place
- Final national decisions on infringements by national competition authorities or courts can be presented as prima facie evidence
- Where several undertakings infringe the competition rules together, they are held jointly and severally liable for the entire damage
- An undertaking that co-infringes has the right to obtain a contribution from other co-infringers if it has paid more compensation than its share
- Small to medium enterprises are liable only towards their own direct or indirect purchasers