20749 - COMPETITION LAW AND PRACTICE
Course taught in English
Synchronous Blended: Lezioni erogate in modalità sincrona in aula (max 1 ora per credito online sincrona)
If competition is the engine of market economies, competition law enforcement is meant to keep competition healthy. Students of economics - whether they become consultants, scholars, or policymakers - should learn how to recognize and go after the business practices that may harm market well-functioning. Therefore, the course discusses the main EU legal rules forbidding anti-competitive agreements, monopolistic practices, and mergers. Furthermore, you will learn to use your economics background to examine and evaluate firms' behaviour from a competition law&practice perspective. In particular, we would like students to understand antitrust goals, the reasoning behind antitrust enforcement and policy, and the way antitrust authorities use their various tools (education, advocacy, cooperation, commitments, prohibition, fines, and even imprisonment) to obtain compliance.
General principles and basic concepts:
- A brief history of competition law in a nutshell
- The goals of EU competition law.
- Competition law and economics (and their critics)
- The EU enforcing system. Public (and Private) enforcement of competition law.
- The EU remedies against anticompetitive business practices.
- Market power and market definition.
Specific business practices:
- Abuses of a dominant position. Exploitative and ezxclusionary abuses
- Horizontal and non-horizonal Mergers.
At the end of the course student will be able to...
Students are required to:
- Identify the goals of competition law and distinguish them from those characterizing other pieces of business regulations.
- Understand the role that economics plays in competition law.
- Know the EU competition law enforcement's system.
- Know the remedies that in the EU can be applied against anticompetitive practices.
- Use the notion of market power and the rules about agreements, abuses of a dominant position, and mergers to develop the economic/legal reasoning to assess different market scenarios.
- Understand the limits of competition law and its relationship with our public policies (sustainability, industrial policy, unfair trade practices, consumer law, protection of national interests, etc.)
At the end of the course student will be able to...
- Understand the various goals of competition law and policy and their implication for enforcement.
- Identify the possible antitrust risks inherent to different market scenarios.
- Solve hypothetical cases concerning the lawfulness of, and risks connected to, different business practices.
- Suggest methods of self-evaluation of business activities to avoid or limit the risk of subsequent antitrust liability.
- Discuss, analyze e design possible solutions to competition law mock cases.
- Prepare concise presentations in which the bulk of a decision/judgment is highlighted and explained in simple terms.
- Prepare short written memos or essays on the antitrust viability of some business practices and/or on the different reasons why a certain behaviour or transaction should be considered an infringement from a competition law perspective.
- communicate with appropriate legal (antitrust) vocabulary.
- Face-to-face lectures
- Online lectures
- Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
- Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
- Group assignments
- Interactive class activities on campus/online (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)
- The course usually hosts one or more guest speakers, such as antitrust lawyers and/or economists, and competition officials, to explain how to become a competition law/policy professor, the antitrust consulting industry, and enforcement activities in practice.
- Case studies and real decisions/judgments are assigned to groups of students, discussed with the instructors, and eventually presented and analyzed in class to show students how to assess market scenarios. The activity is not mandatory but allows students that successfully complete the tast to avoid one of two multiple choice sections.
- Groups of students will be requested to write short essays in form of memos, briefs, etc., highlighting the pros and cons (and/or the main strengths and weaknesses) of some business practices and/or behavior from a competition law perspective. THe activity is not mandatory but allows students that successfullyt complete the task to avoid one of the two multiple choice sections.
- At the end of each of the course’s main sections (agreements, monopolistic practices, and mergers), we will prepare a mock exam showing how to solve both theoretical and scenario questions.
- Attendance is highly encouraged.
- For those who are not able/willing to attend class, we will organize a couple of specific "in distance office hours and course reviews". The exam program and materials will remain the same.
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ATTENDING AND NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS
The exam is written and is a closed-book exam. Students can bring the relevant antitrust laws and regulations (you will find more information in the Bboard).
- The written final exam consists of 2 scenario questions and 2 multiple-choice sections. The two scenario questions aim at testing the ability to address and set up the solution to a hypothetical case (for instance by identifying a possible line of defense in an antitrust investigation); theoretical questions aims to reveal the understanding of complex legal concepts and issues, as well as demonstrating how they are actually applied and interpreted by antitrust authorities or in the case law. Each scenario question is worth 10.5 points. The two Multiple-choice question sections are composed by 6 questions each one. Each correct answer will be worth 0.8 points. They aim at assessing the general understanding of competition law and policy.
- Students that successfully presented in class the main issues and core of a decision/judgment and students that participated in the writing and presentation of short essays on scenario questions can skip the first multiple-choice section (you will be automatically awarded 4.8 points).
Powerpoint presentations that are available on the Bboard (compulsory).
Main legal provisions that are available on the Bboard (compulsory)
Materials/papers/presentations/mock questions/resumes of decisions on the Bboard
R. WHISH, D. BAILEY, Competition Law, tenth edition, Oxford Un. Press, 2021 (recommended); N.B.: the book is a complete guide to EU antitrust law (and also, UK competition Law) a sort of safety net, useful if you want to deepen or better understand our slides, and for the preparation of class presentations and short essays.
if you need something shorter, this is a very good alternative:
J.W. VAN DE GRONDEN, C.S. RUSU, Competition Law in the EU, Elgar, 2021.