Damages Claims for the Infringement of Competition Law in the European Union and Croatia

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Breaches of competition law have negative effects on the relevant market as well as on the participants of the affected market. Protection of the market and competition is provided through the public enforcement where competent authorities investigate and sanction violators. On the other hand, injured participants, individuals or undertakings, can obtain civil law remedies in private proceedings, such as nullity of a contractual obligation, injunction, or an award of damages. To obtain damages award injured person must prove a breach of competition law provision, sustained harm, and a causal relationship between the harm and an infringement of competition law provision. Although the compensation for injured represents the first and the main goal of private enforcement, the other role could be observed through the deterrence effect on future violators of competition law provisions. That was a path pursued by the creators of the Directive 2014/104/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain rules governing actions for damages under national law for infringements of the Member States and EU competition law provisions. This paper analyses the development of tort liability for the infringements of competition law within the European Union law, but also in Croatia, where such damages claims are still an exception. After the adoption of the Procedure on damages actions for infringements of the competition law Act in July 2017, the situation could be different. New Act contains substantive and procedural law provisions, which put injured market participants in better position in achieving their right to damages award.