Lunch seminar with Eun Hye Kim

The Advocate General as an Agent of Change – or Resistance – in EU Competition Law

Beginning in the 1990s, the European Commission embarked on a tremendous reform to bring competition law enforcement more in line with sound economic thinking, also known as the “more-economic approach”. Gradually, economic insights started to seep into the case law of the CJEU, resulting in greater convergence between law and enforcement. In contrast to conventional wisdom, this paper does not attribute this jurisprudential shift to exogenous factors such as changes in the institutional set-up, the Commission as the body giving the main impetus or the EU accession to the ECHR. Rather, it examines the role of the Advocate General as an individual agent of jurisprudential change. To provide a systematic account of individual agency, the paper proposes a novel framework that pays due attention to the characteristics of competition law and the institutional setting the Advocate General operates in. It finds that Advocates General are likely to endorse incremental or covert change strategies when trying to advance new interpretations which is also exemplified by the shift from deference to stricter judicial scrutiny in the case of complex economic assessments.

Please register before 21 September 2020.