Competition Litigation

Competition Litigation

Damages claims resulting from violations of EU and national competition law play an increasingly prominent role in the context of company liability. Competition law is no longer used solely by competition authorities to impose administrative sanctions, but also in private enforcement proceedings by private parties under civil law.

A number of key judgments of the European Court of Justice, new legislative initiatives and a growing awareness among injured parties of the possibility to claim compensation have all contributed to this development.

  • recommendation people shaking hands
    “Clients value the ‘tailor-made solutions’ provided, alongside the team’s ‘holistic approach’ and ‘commercial understanding.’”      
    Chambers Europe, Competition/European Law (2019 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    “They are really good at immediately identifying the problems and coming up with practical solutions.”
    Chambers Europe, Competition/European Law (2019 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    “Sparring partners who have a lot of trial experience and the ability to assess risks.”
    Chambers Europe, Dispute Resolution (2019 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    “One client says: ‘The team is excellent and the quality of work is outstanding,’ and adds that the lawyers are ‘very technical, objective and clear and deliver high-quality services.’”  
    Chambers Europe, Dispute Resolution (2019 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    First Tier Firm
    Chambers Global, Dispute Resolution (2019 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    First Tier firm.
    Chambers Global & Europe, Dispute Resolution (2018 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "Clients hail the team as experts on competition law,' and commend the firm's 'strong network in the healthcare sector'."
    Chambers Europe, Competition/European Law (2018 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "The lawyers draw praise for their 'intellectual drive, quick adaptation to new circumstances in the case and huge client commitment,' as well as their 'excellent communication skills'."
    Chambers Europe, Competition/European Law (2018 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "The lawyers are very knowledgeable and quick to respond to queries with a detailed and well-explained analysis."
    Chambers Europe, Competition/European Law (2018 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "Sources praise the 'excellent lawyers' for being 'a pleasure to work with, resourceful and prompt,' and say: 'They always provide very reliable advice about Dutch law'."
    Chambers Europe, Dispute Resolution (2018 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "Interviewees especially admire the team's meticulous approach to a case: 'The lawyers are very good in dispute resolution, really hard-working, and they go into all details of the case'."
    Chambers Europe, Dispute Resolution (2018 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "Houthoff’s department is ‘very responsive’ and ‘really knows the industry’, with particular expertise in enforcement and technology-related competition issues."
    Legal 500, EU and Competition (2018 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "I think they have very broad expertise; there is always someone in the firm who can help you with a question. They're quick to respond."
    Chambers Europe, Competition/European Law (2017 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    First Tier firm.
    Chambers Global & Europe, Dispute Resolution (2017 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "Houthoff Buruma has the size and experience to handle the full range of competition law matters."
    Legal 500, EU and Competition (2017 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "Its knowledge of the market combined with its knowledge of the legal thresholds is very useful, and the lawyers are very responsive."
    Chambers Europe, Competition/European Law (2016 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "The team has great knowledge of our industry, the legal environment and the processes. The lawyers react very quickly, coming up with understandable positions when responding to certain developments."
    Chambers Europe, Competition/European Law (2016 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    First Tier firm.
    Chambers Global & Europe, Dispute Resolution (2016 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "The ‘very knowledgeable’ and ‘easily accessible’ team at Houthoff Buruma is well equipped to handle the full range of competition matters, both contentious and non-contentious."
    Legal 500, EU and competition (2016 Edition)
Nowadays, companies that have been fined by a competition authority need to give serious consideration to the possibility that collective ‘follow-on actions’ by injured parties may ensue in the civil courts. The Netherlands has one of the most popular legal systems for bringing such collective follow-on claims. These claims can have a real impact on operations and further damage the reputations of the companies concerned. Preventing or minimising such follow-on damage requires carefully considered litigation and negotiation strategies, as well as legal and financial expertise.

Our experienced Competition Litigation Team has the necessary skills, knowledge and experience in these areas. They work closely with the client to determine the best strategy for bringing the case to a satisfactory close. Where necessary, they also engage the assistance of our experts on substantive competition law.
  • Houthoff is defending a major European truck manufacturer against several cartel damages mass claims submitted by claim vehicles allegedly representing haulier companies.

  • Houthoff is defending a Luxembourg air cargo carrier in several proceedings against an accumulated number of cartel damages claims submitted by several claim vehicles arising from the alleged air cargo cartel.

  • Houthoff is advising a Japanese bank on its defence against announced class actions for damages as a follow-on to several alleged cartels regarding InterBank Offering Rates.

  • Car importers usually appoint two types of repairers: those that also sell new vehicles on the basis of a dealer agreement and stand-alone repairers, that only repair vehicles. Obviously, the temptation for the latter to also sell new vehicles is big. In a recent case, where a Hyundai repairer sold new vehicles without a dealer agreement, the importer terminated the repairer agreement for cause. The repairer subsequently challenged the validity of the termination, arguing that he acted as an intermediary. Houthoff successfully defended the position of the Hyundai importer; the termination was upheld.

  • Houthoff is representing a South Korean listed electronics manufacturer in its defence against several cartel damages claims submitted by major CRT purchasers regarding the manufacture of television screens and computer monitors.
  • Houthoff is representing a European oil company in its defence against third party cartel damages claims submitted by a bitumen purchaser claiming damages allegedly suffered as a result of the bitumen cartel.
  • Houthoff is representing Kemira in private enforcement proceedings initiated by the mass claim vehicle Cartel Damages Claims (CDC) as a follow-on to the sodium chlorate cartel.
  • Representing an Asian listed electronics manufacturer in its defence against several cartel damages claim, brought manufacturer of televisions and computer monitors. The plaintiff claimed damages allegedly caused by the CPT and CDT cartel.
  • Representing a European oil company in its defence against cartel damages claims submitted by a purchaser claiming damages allegedly cause by the bitumen cartel.
Our experts are also called upon to assist in ‘stand-alone cases’: cases brought before the civil courts based on a violation of the competition rules, without the violation first being established by a competition authority in administrative proceedings. This involves not only damages claims, but also, for example, actions to access a particular distribution system or to end an abuse of dominance.

Houthoff’s Competition Litigation Team is involved in many of the foremost follow-on and stand-alone cases concerning private enforcement currently before the Dutch courts. A list of the most recent is provided above.
Albert Knigge

Key Contact

Amsterdam
Advocaat | Managing Partner
+31 20 605 65 62
+31 6 5184 5323
Weyer VerLoren van Themaat

Key Contact

Amsterdam
Advocaat | Partner
+31 20 605 61 83
+31 6 5365 5833
Rick Cornelissen

Key Contact

Amsterdam
Advocaat | Counsel
+31 20 605 65 30
+31 6 5184 5353