On 15 September, the Competition Council of Latvia organised the fifth Lawyers Forum, where experts of the authority met with lawyers and advocates in order to discuss the current events of the competition law. Upon increase of the importance of the economic analysis in competition cases, the annual discussion of professionals this time was broadened also with the topic of economics.
The representative of the Competition Council introduced the audience with the practice existing in the authority for processing of data acquired from market participants and ensuring protection thereof, when performing investigation of competition cases. Namely, what is the expected procedure, when separating information, referring to the personal data, from materials of the case file, which may serve as an evidence in the case.
Considering the even more increasing role of the economic analysis in competition cases, the representative of the Competition Council presented the experience of the authority, when evaluating unfair application of prices in the context of abuse of the dominant position. This topic is of special importance, because in the judgement, adopted early this September, the Court of Justice of the European Union has found the method applied by the Competition Council for evaluation of unfair prices in the case of 2013, pursuant to which an infringement was established and a fine was imposed upon AKKA/LAA (the Latvian authors' society) for application of excessive rates, as reasonable on the merits.
In its turn, the assistant to sworn advocate of the law office TGS Baltic introduced the audience on the aspects of price recommendations for resale. The border between price recommendations harmless to competition and pricing, which is one of the most severe infringements of the competition law, quite often is fragile, therefore from the perspective of market participants it is important to recognize the potential risks in a timely manner.
And the lawyer of the law office SORAINEN presented the topic on certain procedural aspects for investigation of the competition cases. Namely, what is the experience of the office, when providing legal aid during the procedural activities implemented by the Competition Council during competition cases of different type.
Māris Spička, the Competition Council Executive Director: “Proving of competition infringements becomes more and more complicated in the practice, requiring also a complicated economical analysis in addition. Taking into account the fact that also economical methods take an even more significant role in the competition cases, we considered it useful to expand the range of topics of the Lawyers Forum. When having a discussion between lawyers and economics at the same time, the competition rights and culture may obtain only a positive contribution.”