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The intensity of judicial review in complex economic matters—recent competition law judgments of the Court of Justice of the EU

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Judges are faced with great challenges when judicial review is carried out in a complex economic environment, such as that concerning the application of competition law, as they are required to turn economic theories into clear and predictable legal criteria. Traditionally, the Court of Justice has taken a careful approach as to the scope and intensity of its own review of the Commission’s decisions in complex economic matters. As more sophisticated economic analysis has been developed to fully grasp the impact of the conduct of undertakings on the market, the EU courts have progressively felt the need to strengthen their scrutiny in competition cases. The recent judgment in Intel is an important step, albeit limited, in this regard. Notwithstanding, the Court of Justice has always been most reluctant to replace its own assessment of facts for the complex assessments of an economic nature made by the Commission, and has never withdrawn from the strict conception of its powers of review on appeal.