Economic continuity of liability in antitrust damages – CJEU preliminary ruling in C-724/17 Skanska et al.

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The article presents and discusses the most important judgment on private enforcement of antitrust/competition law that the Court of Justice of the European Union has handed down so far. It deals with the economic continuity of liability in antitrust damages. In its Preliminary Ruling, the CJEU held that liability for antitrust damages can follow corporate acquisitions. Consequently, under certain circumstances, a company may be liable for damages for the anti-competitive conduct of another company, even when the former did not participate in the infringement itself. The ruling will have to be taken into account in all current and future antitrust damages cases in the EU. The judgment was given due to the request for a preliminary ruling by the Supreme Court of Finland in the context of the Finnish Asphalt cartel case. The article could perhaps not have been written by a better-positioned author. First, Ilkka Leppihalme has first-hand detailed knowledge of the main national case behind the CJEU’s Preliminary Ruling as he acted as the lead counsel of it for 12 years. Second, due to his switching of law firms and consequently giving up his role in the case, he was not involved in the last few years of the case, thus safe-guarding the objectivity of the article. There is no other article (not to mention one in English) that presents such a detailed description of the underlying national case – providing international readers with an in-depth view of the always important background information and details not otherwise available to them when assessing the importance and effects of the ruling in similar cases. The article is part of the Richard Whish Liber Amicorum, published by Concurrences in March 2020.