EU competition law discussed at Gozo seminar
The majority of the provisions in Malta’s Competition Act are in fact modelled on Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and it is imperative that the Maltese Judiciary interpret our laws in harmony with this treaty, Minister for Justice, Dialogue and the Family Chris Said said during his closing speech at the the conference and training seminar on EU competition law and its application in Malta held in Gozo today.
The Minister said that the Maltese Competition Act reinforces this harmonisation by requiring the Office for Competition and the Competition and Consumer Appeals Tribunal to have recourse to EU law and jurisprudence in the application of the Competition Act. National courts together with national competition authorities are now able to adopt Articles 101 and 102 of the TFEU, sharing this competence with the European Commission while following Regulation 1/2003. Member states have to establish mechanisms for cooperation between the Commission and the national competition authorities, the Commission and the national courts, and the national courts and national competition authorities.
In contrast with the large number of cases dealt with by the Office for Competition and the Competition and Consumer Appeals Tribunal, local courts have seen very few cases alleging a breach of competition rules. In the near future, it is envisaged that the participation of the courts will increase particularly in view of the amendments to the Competition Act last year and the recent Collective Proceedings Act
National courts can also be involved in state aid, notably to determine whether the case actually involves state aid in line with Article 107(1) of the TFEU or not. They may also order restitution of unlawful state aid and payment of damages resulting from unlawful aid. The Government is committed towards the professional development of the members of the judiciary by providing continuous training for judges and magistrates, the Minister stated.
Chris Said expressed his gratitude toward the University of Glasgow, which partnered with the MCCAA to organise the conference and training seminar. He also thanked speakers Prof. Rosa Greaves, Prof. Mark Furse and Mr Justice Joseph Camilleri from the Judicial Studies Committee for their cooperation.