Competition: ESA intervenes before Icelandic courts in a case between the Icelandic Competition Authority and Byko ehf./Norvík hf.
ESA has submitted written observations to the Reykjavík District Court in a case concerning a decision taken by the Icelandic Competition Authority (ICA) in May 2015, in which it fined Norvík hf. 650 million ISK for infringing (by way of its subsidiary Byko ehf.) both EEA and Icelandic competition rules.
The Byko/Norvík case raises important questions regarding the correct application and interpretation of EEA law. ICA's decision was appealed to the Competition Appeals Committee, which held that the infringements were not as severe as ICA had concluded and that the EEA competition rules (namely Article 53 of the EEA Agreement) did not apply. As a consequence, the Committee lowered the fine imposed to 65 million ISK. In February 2016, ICA appealed this decision to the District Court, maintaining that Norvík hf. pay the fine as originally ordered. It is in these proceedings that ESA is now intervening as a friend of the court.
The observations submitted by ESA concern the circumstances in which the EEA competition rules apply (i.e. when trade may be affected) and the importance of the appropriate level and deterrent effect of fines in competition cases. National competition authorities and national courts are under an obligation to apply the EEA competition rules in cases where the facts fall under the scope of EEA law, and to ensure that the rules are applied effectively.
ESA may, acting on its own initiative, submit written observations (“amicus curiae” observations) to courts of the EFTA States when the coherent application of EEA competition rules is at stake. This is the first time that ESA submits written observations before Icelandic courts. ESA has, however, on two occasions submitted observations before Norwegian courts. ESA's observations are not binding on the national courts.
For further information, please contact:
Mr. Andreas Kjeldsberg Pihl
Press & Information Officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66
mob. (+32)(0)492 900 187