August 26 2010
The government has proposed a new Competition Act. The main changes concern merger control, competition infringement fines and damages. The proposal was brought before Parliament in the presidential session of June 11 2010, and the law is expected to enter into force at the beginning of 2011.
The government proposes that a new 'significant impediment of effective competition' test be applied as part of the merger control process. The new test examines the likely impact of a merger on competition. The existing regime is based on the dominance test, and concerns have been expressed that the new act may make it more difficult to get a deal through in Finland.
Under the existing legislation, only the first whistle blower is granted leniency. The government proposes that the rules governing leniency be brought into line with those of the European Commission, in which subsequent applicants are granted partial leniency. This is a logical step and is likely to increase the number leniency procedures that are undertaken in Finland.
Under existing legislation, only companies are entitled to claim damages for competition law infringements. The government proposes that consumers and public entities also be granted this right. In addition, plaintiffs will be given an extra year to bring damages cases before the ordinary court of justice once an administrative procedure has been completed and become legally valid. This change means that it will not be necessary to interrupt the limitation period during a Competition Authority investigation or while the Market Court or the Administrative Court is handling a case. It is important to note that, for example, a European Commission investigation does not have the same suspensive effect on the limitation period. Rather, in such cases, the 10-year rule will apply.
For further information on this topic please contact Ilkka Aalto-Setälä at Borenius & Kemppinen by telephone (+358 400 7123 57), fax (+3589 6153 3499) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Borenius & Kemppinen website can be accessed at www.borenius.com.
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