Class action & damages claims: have we finally found the "Courage " two decades since the EU’ s top Court landmark judgment?Click here to read the full article online
The judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Courage and Crehan represented a landmark case in private enforcement in the EU. It recognised the right to full compensation in the EU stemming from the overarching principle of effectiveness of EU law. Since this judgment, we have seen a shy but gradual increase in damages claims for the infringement of competition law, several of which have reached the Court of Justice of the EU for further guidance and interpretation. This jurisprudential approach to damages claims lead the European legislator to adopt in 2014 the Damages Directive. Both the case law and the new rules have gradually removed procedural obstacles for individuals, companies, and public bodies to claim compensation following an antitrust infringement. This is still an area of law in evolution in which several questions remain open, particularly on the interface between public and private enforcement in what concerns leniency applications, as well as on the compensation of final consumers who ultimately foot the bill of infringers. This foreword takes stock of where we are in the EU two decades after the Courage judgement and reflects on the way forward.