New Finnish Antitrust Damages Act comes into force

The Antitrust Damages Act was introduced by the Finnish Government on 8 December 2016.  The Act comes into force on 26 December 2016.

The new Act is material to enterprises that may either be claimants or defendants in damages proceedings. Pursuant to the press release issued by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Antitrust Damages Act will clarify and simplify procedures for both damages claims and damages proceedings. Furthermore, the release states that the Act will ensure that the parties suffering damage can receive full compensation.

The Act will apply to damages resulting from violations of the EU Competition Rules as well as the domestic Competition Act in Finnish courts. The Act clarifies the relationship between enforcement of the Competition Authority’s Competition Rules and court proceedings in such way that the effectiveness of the leniency system, which relates to discharge from sanctions, will remain.

The Act includes provisions on, inter alia, presumption of harm in cartels, rules on the passing on of overcharges, and the limitation of joint liability and recourse liability of discharged companies. Furthermore, provisions on the impact of an infringement decision on a damages judgment, interest, disclosure of evidence, limitation of prosecution by lapse of time, as well as the impact of settlement negotiations and settlement.

Simultaneously, the Competition Act is amended so that its terms are consistent with the Directive.

The Antitrust Damages Act is based on the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council (2014/104/EU) and preparation by a working party.