On behalf of the team

On 28 October 2021, Advocate General Rantos delivered an opinion regarding the same truck cartel.[1] In a case between a Spanish company referred to by the letters RM v. Volvo and DAF Trucks, the Court of Appeal of Léon, Spain had asked the Court of Justice for a ruling on the temporal scope of the Antitrust Damages Directive.[2] Relevant in that context is that the Antitrust Damages Directive distinguishes between substantive provisions that have not been declared retroactively applicable and procedural provisions that are applicable in cases that predate the Directive’s entry into force. Two things were at issue.

In Spain, there is a limitation period of one year for non-contractual liability, whereas Article 10(3) of the 2014 European Antitrust Damages Directive specifies a five-year limitation period for bringing actions for cartel damages. The question is which limitation period applies here. The Advocate General concluded that the five-year limitation period is a substantive provision and does not therefore apply to cases where the facts and fines predate the implementation of the Directive.

Another point of dispute was whether the presumption that a cartel leads to damage in Article 17(2) of the Antitrust Damages Directive applies here. The Advocate General held that this was a procedural provision and that it is therefore also applicable in cases where the facts predate the Directive.

[1] Opinion of Advocate General M. Athanasios Rantos, case C-267/20, 28 October 2021. See also Court of Justice of the European Union Press Release No 193/21: “Truck cartel in Spain: Advocate General Rantos clarifies the temporal scope of the directive on the compensation of victims of anti-competitive practices”, 28 October 2021.

[2] 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.