It can hardly be denied that competition law has become one of the most exciting and dynamic subfields of international business law. Competition law governs all market operators and structures their behaviour accordingly. Technology and social media giants such as Intel, Google, Facebook, Apple, Samsung or Microsoft, large pharmaceutical or chemical producers such as Akzo Nobel or BASF, telecommunications operators such as KPN or Liberty Global, breweries such as ABInbev, former state-owned companies such as Lufthansa, Deutsche Bahn and the Dutch Railways (NS), and Member States such as France aiming to support the upgrading of its football stadiums in preparation for UEFA matches... All those very different private and public businesses have more or less recently been subject to EU competition law scrutiny.
This course offers an overview of different rules, principles and policies EU competition law relies upon to structure businesses’ market behaviour. To that extent, it first outlines the goals of competition law and the legal concepts relied upon to attain those goals. By emphasizing the need for ‘workable competition’ within the ‘internal market’, EU competition law establishes a level playing field in accordance with which businesses and Member States have to structure their activities in the marketplace. Competition law in that regard distinguishes between rules directly addressing private market operators and rules structuring state intervention in the marketplace. In both instances, the EU – and most notably the European Commission – has been endowed with significant enforcement and sanctioning powers. The course subsequently addresses the different specific competition law rules in more detail. It distinguishes between the prohibition of collusive behaviour and the prohibition of abuse of a dominant economic position, the ex ante regulation of envisaged mergers and acquisitions, and the regulation of State interventions in the marketplace.
Objectives of the course
The objective of this course is to acquaint the students with the rationale of competition law and familiarize them with the basic rules, principles and procedures of EU competition law.
During the interactive seminars, students will discuss EU competition law developments and cases and learn how to apply the substantive and procedural EU competition rules to hypothetical and real life cases.
After completing the course, you will be able:
to demonstrate a good understanding of the function of (EU) competition law;
to explain the main concepts relied upon in EU competition law (undertaking, restriction of competition, abuse of a dominant position, relevant market);
to identify the relevant substantive and procedural rules and apply them in hypothetical or real life business settings;
to develop a well-structured competition law analysis;
to independently find relevant EU decisional practice and case law;
to comprehend the interplay between law, economics and policy in this area;
to demonstrate analytical skills by critically discussing EU competition law cases and developments and the function and limits of competition law as an instrument of internal market regulation.
The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.
Mode of instruction
Number of (2 hour) lectures: 6
Names of lecturers: Dr. Ben Van Rompuy
Required preparation by students: Students are expected to be familiar with the prescribed materials.
Number of (2 hour) seminars: 6
Names of instructors: to be announced
Required preparation by students: Students should read the prescribed materials and are required to prepare the exercises. Students can only attend the seminars if they submit in advance their written answers to the exercises through Blackboard.
1. As part of the final examination students are required to submit a case note. The grade for this case note will count for 20% towards the final grade.
2. A written exam will be held at the end of this course. The exam comprises three major questions, each consisting in a significant amount of sub-questions. Two questions will be presented as a hypothetical case study and one will be a more theoretical essay question on a topic discussed during the lectures and seminars. The exam grade will count towards 80% of your overall mark in this course.
Students who fail the exam are entitled to sit a re-examination. Depending on the number of students failing the exam, the re-sit may take the form of an oral exam.
The grade for the case note assignment will remain valid for the re-sit.
If a student has not passed the course by the end of the academic year, partial grades for written exam or paper are no longer valid.
Regulation retake passed exams
In this course it is possible to retake an exam that has been passed (cf. art. 220.127.116.11 and further of the Course and Examination Regulations), on the condition that this course is included in the compulsory components of the degree programme. Students who have passed the exam may retake the final written assessment (test) of the course. Please contact the Student Administration Office (OIC) for more information.
The case note will have to be submitted both in hard copy and electronically through Blackboard.
Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination syllabus consists of the required reading for the course, as well as all subjects discussed during the lectures and seminars.
More information on this course is offered in Blackboard.
Obligatory course materials
Piet-Jan Slot and Martin Farley, An Introduction to Competition Law, 2nd edition (Hart Publishing, Oxford 2017).
Course information guide:
- to be announced on Blackboard
- to be announced on Blackboard
Recommended course materials
- To be announced on Blackboard
Students have to register for courses and exams through uSis.
Co-ordinator: Dr. Ben Van Rompuy
Work address: KOG, room B1.24
Telephone number: 071-527 1344
Institute: Public Law
Department: European Law
Room number secretary: KOG, room B1.21
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9.00 – 17.00
Telephone number secretary: 071 527 3596
Anyone interested in registering for this course as part of a Contractual Programme (Contractonderwijs), which includes examination, will find further information regarding costs, application and registration, conditions etc. on the website of Juridisch PAO (Legal postgraduate education). Take notice of the admission requirements.