Which local courts and/or tribunals deal with competition damages claims?

Competition Litigation

Belgium Small Flag Belgium

In Belgium, there are no specialist courts to which competition damages claims are assigned. Claimants are required to bring their claims before the ordinary courts that have jurisdiction. This may be either one of the thirteen courts of first instance, which have general jurisdiction over all civil claims which are not exclusively attributed by law to other courts, or one of the nine enterprise courts, which deal predominantly with claims against enterprises (i.e. persons or entities who permanently pursue an economic goal). In practice, most competition damages claims are brought before the enterprise courts.

Appeals against judgments of the courts of first instance or the enterprise courts are brought before one of the five courts of appeal. Some enterprise courts and some courts of appeal have taken the initiative to set up specialised chambers for competition law actions.

The jurisdiction of each court of first instance, enterprise court and court of appeal is geographically determined.

A further appeal, named cassation recourse, may be brought before the Belgian Supreme Court, which will however only review the court of appeal’s judgment on points of law, and will not re-assess the facts of the matter.

Finally, cease-and-desist proceedings must be brought before the president of one of the nine enterprise courts. Interim measures can be requested from either the court dealing with the case on the merits or separately from the president of the court of first instance or of the enterprise court.

Brazil Small Flag Brazil

State courts have general subject matter jurisdiction over civil competition claims. However, as per Article 109, paragraph I of the Brazilian Federal Constitution, the jurisdiction of federal courts applies to cases in which the Federal Government, federal agencies or federal state-owned companies figure as the plaintiff, defendant or intervenes on the matter, which includes the Brazilian competition authority, CADE.

The decision in state and federal courts is made by a single judge, and it can be appealed to the State Court of Appeals (or Federal Court of Appeals, in case of a federal court), which has jurisdiction to review both matters of fact and matters of law.

Furthermore, an additional appeal to a higher court is possible to question points of law only. In case of non-constitutional questions, the appeal is heard by the Superior Court of Justice; on the other hand, if the appeal is made on constitutional grounds, it is subject to the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court’s assessment.

China Small Flag China

  1. Based on a series of judicial interpretations issued by the SPC, with respect of private antitrust cases in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangdong (excluding Shenzhen), the three IP Courts (Beijing IP Court, Shanghai IP Court, and Guangzhou IP Court) have jurisdiction over the first-instance competition damages claims.
  2. As of this writing, the SPC has also approved to set up multiple IP tribunals within the Intermediate People’s Courts of 15 cities [4] to have cross-territorial jurisdiction over certain types of IP-related cases – including competition damages claims. These IP tribunals have cross-regional jurisdiction over first-instance competition damages claims within the entire provinces or multiple cities within certain provinces. For example, the Wuhan (the capital of Hubei province) IP Tribunal has jurisdiction over first-instance competition damages claims within Hubei province; the Suzhou IP Tribunal has jurisdiction over first-instance competition damages claims within four cities of Jiangsu province (Suzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou, and Nantong), while the first-instance competition damages claims within the remaining nine cities of Jiangsu province (Nanjing, Zhenjiang, Yangzhou, Taizhou, Yancheng, Huai’an, Suqian, Xuzhou, and Lianyungang) are subject to the jurisdiction of the Nanjing (the capital of Jiangsu province) IP Tribunal.
  3. Regarding competition damages claims in territories other than those mentioned above, according to the SPC AML Interpretation, the Intermediate People’s Courts (1) of the provincial capital cities, (2) of certain specific cities (currently mainly referring to Dalian and Xiamen), and (3) other Intermediate People’s Courts designated by the SPC have jurisdiction over first-instance competition damages claims.
  4. The SPC recently issued a notice to further adjust the jurisdiction of first-instance civil cases between Higher People’s Courts and Intermediate People’s Courts. According to the newly issued notice, Intermediate People’s Courts have jurisdiction over first-instance civil cases with a claimed amount not exceeding RMB 5 billion. First-instance civil claims that equal to or exceed RMB 5 billion and other first-instance civil cases that have significant influence shall fall into the jurisdiction of Higher People’s Courts. The rules mentioned above should also be applicable to competition damages claims.
  5. Furthermore, the SPC has been authorized by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress to set up a new IP tribunal of appeal within the SPC to accept second-instance competition damages claims and other IP-related cases. The SPC IP Tribunal had been established and became operational on January 1, 2019.

[4] - The 15 cities include Tianjin, Changsha, Xi’an, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Jinan, Qingdao, Fuzhou, Hefei, Shenzhen, Nanjing, Suzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu, and Zhengzhou.

Cyprus Small Flag Cyprus

At first instance, the competent Court to hear competition damages claims is the District Court. The Supreme Court of Cyprus can hear appeals from District Court judgments in its appellate jurisdiction. No leave is required to file an appeal.

The Administrative Court also hears competition law related recourses that may be filed by claimants against an infringement decision taken by the Commission for the Protection of Competition in Cyprus (the “CPC”) which has imposed an administrative fine and/or other sanction. Once again, decisions taken by the Administrative Court may be appealed before the Supreme Court.

Egypt Small Flag Egypt

Article 6 of the Economic Courts Law No 120/2008 provides that unless the Council of State has jurisdiction over a dispute arising in the application of ECL, first instance circuits of the Economics Courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction over disputes arising from the application of the Competition Law for disputes amounting up to five million Egyptian Pounds. Same exclusive jurisdiction is granted to appeal circuits in Economic Courts when the dispute in question is unquantified or when it exceeds five million Egyptian Pounds.

Since ECL tackles only the criminal aspect of the competition matters (which excludes the competition damage claims that are of civil nature), parties who have interest and capacity could submit civil claims in ongoing criminal matters before Economic Courts requesting compensation out of the crimes committed by the defendant(s) with regards to ECL. However, in practice the Economic Courts after establishing the criminal aspect in a case, may transfer these civil claims to the competent civil Court.

France Small Flag France

Depending on the profile of the parties, competition damages claims can be brought before commercial courts, civil courts or administrative courts.

If the claimant or the defendant is a public entity, the administrative courts may in certain cases be competent to deal with the competition damages action. The administrative court with territorial jurisdiction is the one in whose jurisdiction the public authority which took the contested decision or signed the disputed contract relating to the competition law infringement has its headquarters.

In other cases, competition damages actions can be heard by 16 specialised courts, comprising eight commercial courts (tribunaux de commerce) and eight civil courts (tribunaux de grande instance) having their seat in Bordeaux, Fort-de-France, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nancy, Paris and Rennes (articles L. 420-7, R. 420-3 and R. 420-4 of the FCC).

The allocation of the damages cases between these commercial and civil courts depends on the profile of the parties involved. Disputes between commercial parties are heard by the commercial courts (article R. 420-3 and Appendix 4-2 of the FCC) while the civil courts have jurisdiction over disputes between non-commercial private litigants (article R. 420-4 and Appendix 4-1 of the FCC). In practice, most competition damages actions involve companies and are thus brought before commercial courts.

The territorial jurisdiction of the above commercial and civil courts is determined on the basis of articles 42 et seq. of the French code of civil procedure (civil procedure code).

As a principle, the court having jurisdiction is the one of the defendant’s domicile (article 42 of the civil procedure code). In contractual matters, the claimant may alternatively choose to bring a case before the court of the place of the delivery of goods or where the service is to be provided (article 46 of the civil procedure code). In tort matters, the plaintiff may alternatively choose the court where the infringement causing the damage occurred or where the alleged damage was suffered (article 46 of the civil procedure code).

Seat of the specialised commercial and civil courts

Territorial jurisdiction of the specialised commercial and civil courts

Lille

Northern and Northern-western part of France:

Covers the jurisdiction of the Courts of Appeal of Amiens, Douai, Reims and Rouen

Nancy

Northern-eastern part of France:

Covers the jurisdiction of the Courts of appeal of Besançon, Colmar, Dijon, Metz and Nancy

Paris

Paris region, Central part of France and La Réunion (French oversea territory):

Covers the jurisdiction of the Courts of Appeal of Bourges, Orléans, Paris, Versailles and Saint-Denis de la Réunion

Rennes

Western part of France:

Covers the jurisdiction of the Courts of Appeal of Angers, Caen, Poitiers and Rennes

Lyon

Central-eastern part of France:

Covers the jurisdiction of the Courts of Appeal of Chambéry, Grenoble, Lyon and Riom

Bordeaux

South-western part of France:

Covers the jurisdiction of the Courts of Appeal of Agen, Bordeaux, Limoges, Pau and Toulouse

Marseille

South-eastern part of France:

Covers the jurisdiction of the Courts of Appeal of Aix-en-Provence, Bastia, Montpellier and Nîmes

Fort de France

French Carribean territories:

Covers the jurisdiction of the Courts of Appeal of Basse-Terre, Cayenne and Fort de France

All appeals of the above specialised and commercial civil courts’ judgments are heard by the Paris Court of Appeal (see article R. 420-5 of the FCC). The Paris Court of Appeal’s judgment can in turn be appealed before the Cour de cassation. This latter appeal is limited to legal issues.

Germany Small Flag Germany

International jurisdiction

International jurisdiction is determined pursuant to the Brussels Ia Regulation if the defendant is domiciled in a EU member state. In such case, three potential venues are of great importance for antitrust litigation proceedings: the general place of jurisdiction at the defendant's domicile (article 4 para 1 Brussels Ia Regulation), the place of jurisdiction for torts (article 7 no 2 Brussels Ia Regulation), ie the place where the harmful event occurred - which includes both the place where the harmful act was committed and where it unfolded its damaging effect - , and the place where any one of a number of defendants is domiciled (Article 8 no 1 Brussels Ia Regulation). For those European countries which are not EU member states, ie Norway, Switzerland and Iceland, the Lugano Convention provides similar rules. If no EU Regulation or international agreement applies, international jurisdiction of German courts is determined by application of the rules on local jurisdiction (‘dual function’, see below).

Local jurisdiction (örtliche Zuständigkeit)

Insofar as the Brussels Ia Regulation is not applicable or does not designate the local jurisdiction as well (for instance in case of article 4 jurisdiction), local jurisdiction is determined pursuant to the general rules of the ZPO. Section 21 et seq ZPO stipulate several special places of jurisdiction besides the general place of residence (section 12 ZPO). These provisions include especially defendant’s place of business (Section 21 ZPO) and the place where the harmful act unfolds its damaging effect (Section 32 ZPO). It is furthermore important to note that section 89 GWB empowers state governments to assign cartel disputes to a regional court for the districts of several regional courts by ordinance. With the exception of Saarland, Thuringia and the city states Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg, all state governments have made use of this authorisation.

Subject-matter jurisdiction (sachliche Zuständigkeit)

All legal disputes based on GWB provisions fall into the exclusive jurisdiction of the regional courts regardless of the respective amount in dispute (Sections 87 and 95 GWB). The exclusive jurisdiction in cartel matters prevails over any other potential exclusive jurisdiction.

Functional jurisdiction (funktionelle Zuständigkeit)

The Regional Courts often have particular divisions that are functionally competent to hear cartel damage claims. The judges assigned to these division often have a particular experience in commercial matters and are specialised in cartel damage litigation.

Hong Kong Small Flag Hong Kong

The Competition Tribunal has exclusive jurisdiction to deal with pure competition damages claims under the Competition Ordinance. However, the Competition Ordinance does not prohibit claims being brought in the Court of First Instance where the cause of action is not limited to the defendant’s contravention or involvement in a contravention of a conduct rule under the Competition Ordinance. The Court of First Instance has the power to transfer proceedings to the Competition Tribunal where appropriate. There have been recent examples where a transfer was granted (see Taching Petroleum Company Limited v Meyer Aluminium Limited [2019] HKCFI 515) – and also examples where a transfer was refused by the Court of First Instance (see Loyal Profit International Development Ltd v Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong [2016] HCMP 256/2016.)

Appeals from decisions of the Competition Tribunal and the Court of First Instance can be made to the Court of Appeal. Further appeal lies to the Court of Final Appeal.

Israel Small Flag Israel

A civil suit in tort is filed, in accordance with its value, to a Magistrate Court or to a District Court. With regard to local jurisdiction the claim can be filed in court according to a number of factors set forth in the Civil Procedure Regulations, relating to the place where the defendant conducts his business; The place where the undertaking was made; Where the act or omission constituting the cause of action has taken place. Although there is an Antitrust Tribunal, civil actions for damages are not heard before the Tribunal.

Japan Small Flag Japan

Type A and Type B claims are both handled by the competent district court.

The Netherlands Small Flag The Netherlands

The district courts deal with competition damages claims in first instance. Although there are no specific civil courts dealing with civil competition cases, there are a number of judges which have extensive experience in this field. After a judgment in first instance, an appeal may be lodged before the competent court of appeal. The final instance is the Supreme Court.

In addition, in January 2019 the Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC) opened its doors as part of the Amsterdam District Court and the Amsterdam Court of Appeal. This court offers proceedings conducted in the English language, but only if it concerns international commercial cases (which may include competition law damages claims with an international element (e.g. claimant and defendant are each domiciled in a different country) and the parties explicitly agreed to litigate before the NCC in the English language. The NCC is supposed to provide tailored and faster proceedings dealt with by specialised judges.

Philippines Small Flag Philippines

Civil actions under section 45 are brought before the RTC where the entity or any of the entities whose business, act or conduct constitutes the subject matter of a case conducts its principal place of business.[15] A corporation's principal place of business is the place of business stated in the corporation's Articles of Incorporation.[16]

[15] - PCA, section 44.
[16] - RA 11232, Revised Corporation Code, Section 13.

Poland Small Flag Poland

In Poland there are two types of common courts of first instance which can resolve civil matters: district and regional courts. District courts (Polish: sąd rejonowy) decide on less complex and having value of the claim not exceeding certain threshold, whereas the regional courts (Polish: sąd okręgowy) deal with all the other disputes.

Claims for infringement of competition law fall within the jurisdiction of regional courts, regardless of the value of the claim.

Portugal Small Flag Portugal

The Competition, Regulation and Supervision Court is competent in respect of all cases that have to do with regulatory decisions under competition law, and also in liability claims based exclusively on the breach of competition rules.

Argentina Small Flag Argentina

According to the Competition Law damages claims must be filed with the Civil and Commercial Federal Courts at national level or Federal Court in provinces jurisdictions.

Sweden Small Flag Sweden

Since September 2016, the Patent and Market Court has jurisdiction over competition damages actions as well as competition cases brought by the Swedish Competition Authority. The Patent and Market Court of Appeal is the court of second, and final, instance in such cases.

Turkey Small Flag Turkey

The civil, commercial or consumer courts will be the competent courts regarding litigations in this front depending on the parties' legal status (e.g. whether both claimant and defendant are merchants or whether the claimant is a consumer) as per the relevant legislations.

Australia Small Flag Australia

The Federal Court of Australia has exclusive jurisdiction to deal with claims regarding contraventions of Part IV of the CCA, except to the extent that section 86 of the CCA confers specific jurisdiction on other courts.

The Federal Circuit Court has limited jurisdiction with respect to claims under the CCA regarding misuse of market power, contraventions of industry codes and charging of excessive payment surcharges. The Federal Circuit Court cannot award damages in excess of $750,000.

Canada Small Flag Canada

Superior courts of each province have typically heard these cases, but recently, plaintiffs have been attempting to bring cases before the Federal Court. However, there is jurisprudence to the effect that, as a statutory court, the Federal Court does not have jurisdiction to entertain common law claims. The Competition Tribunal also has the ability to adjudicate private matters brought before it regarding exclusive dealing, refusal to deal, and price maintenance, but it has no authority to order damages.

Italy Small Flag Italy

Article 4 of Legislative Decree No. 168 dated 27 June 2003 (as subsequently amended) provides that claims arising out from violations of EU competition laws and those indicated under Article 33(2) of Law 287/90 (i.e. nullity and damages actions, as well as actions for interim measures in relation to the infringement of the provisions of Titles I to IV of the same Law) fall under the mandatory jurisdiction of the Special Section for Enterprises of the Civil Courts of Milan, Rome or Naples, depending on the place where the offence occurred and including when one of the parties is a company with its registered office outside of Italy.

On the other hand, competition damages claims brought on different grounds than those above indicated (e.g. violation of Articles 2595 - 2601 of the ICC) are usually dealt with by the ordinary sections of civil courts (unless there is some interference with intellectual property issues then in that case it is dealt by the Special Section for Enterprises). However, some courts, such for example Milan, nonetheless devolve them to the Special Section for Enterprises for subject matter purposes.

Romania Small Flag Romania

The court having jurisdiction over competition damages claims – as a Court of first instance – is the Bucharest Tribunal. The decision of the Bucharest Tribunal may be challenged via appeal (in Romanian, apel) before the Bucharest Court of Appeal, while the decisions of the latter may in turn be challenged via higher appeal (in Romanian, recurs) before the High Court of Cassation and Justice.

United Kingdom Small Flag United Kingdom

Competition damages claims can be commenced in the High Court (which has jurisdiction over England and Wales) or the CAT (a specialist competition claims tribunal with jurisdiction over the United Kingdom). Claims in the High Court are typically commenced in the Chancery Division (which has judges with competition law expertise) or the Commercial Court.

(See question 15 below for details of the appeal process.)

Colombia Small Flag Colombia

a. Individual Actions: The lawsuit shall be filled against the administrative judges if the damage was caused by and act, decision or omission of a public entity. Otherwise, the competent judge will be the civil judge. The determination of the local judge for a competition damage claim depends on the following criteria:

  • Territory: According to Colombian law, the competent judge will be one of the following:
    • If the defendant is the Nation, the judge of the plaintiff’s domicile;
    • If the defendant is a territorial public entity, the judge of the domicile of such entity;
    • If the defendant is a legal entity, the judge of the domicile of the entity; or
    • Otherwise, the judge of the place in which the harmful act took place;

If there are several defendants including the Nation, the competent judge will be the one of the plaintiff’s domicile. If there are several defendants including the a territorial entity (but not including the Nation, the competent judge will be the one of the domicile of such entity.

  • Value of the claim:
    • Minimum value: A civil or administrative judge (juez civil municipal o juez adminsitrativo) and the process will have a decision that cannot be appealed.
    • Minor value: A local civil or administrative judge (juez civil del circuito o juez adminsitrativo). The tribunal will be competent to decide on the appeal.
    • Major value: A district civil or administrative judge (juez civil del circuito o juez adminsitrativo). The tribunal will be competent to decide on the appeal.

b. Collective Actions: The lawsuit shall be filled against the administrative judges if the damage was caused by and act, decision or omission of a public entity. Otherwise, the competent judge will be the district civil judge (juez civil del circuito). The plaintiff can choose between the judge of the place in which the event took place, the domicile of the plaintiff or the domicile of the defendant.

The judge will be competent in a first instance while the tribunal will be competent to decide on the appeal.

United States Small Flag United States

Federal district courts have jurisdiction over antitrust claims involving interstate commerce. 15 USC § 15 [1914]. Antitrust claims based on state law may also be brought in state courts and federal courts sitting in diversity jurisdiction.

Updated: August 7, 2019