The Hungarian legal publisher, Wolters Kluwer introduced its newest book to the public on the 11th of April, 2018 in the state room of Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest. The book’s title is Private Enforcement Litigation – a handbook for practitioners. The book focuses on civil claims in connection with competition law infringements, and damages claims in particular. The subject matter is shown in great detail, with a focus on the practitioner’s view point. The handbook intends to be a guide to the widely defined law-enforcement community (to judges, attorneys, experts and to the parties themselves). The user friendliness of the book is strengthened through chapters written by accomplished foreign authors, where the reader may get acquainted with the jurisprudence of legal systems (such as the United Kingdom and the Netherlands) where these claims are enforced on a regular basis.
The event, which was combined with a half day long competition law conference, was attended by over 70 Hungarian and foreign professionals. The co-host of the event was CHSH Dezső & Partners who’s co-managing partner, Tamás Polauf was also the editor in chief of the book.
After the opening remarks of CHSH and Wolters Kluwer, Dr. Gábor Fejes vice-chair of the Hungarian Competition Law Association and Dr. Pál Szilágyi, assistant professor of Pázmány Péter Catholic University introduced the book to the public.
After the appraisal of the book, and interesting and smart panel discussion took place, on the perspectives of private enforcement in Hungary. The participants of the panel discussion were Dr. Mónika Csöndes, senior lecturer and special advisor to the Curia, Dániel Gelencsér, assistant lecturer of Pázmány Péter Catholic University and also special advisor to the Curia, as well as András Fenyőházi (litigation expert) and Márton Kocsis (competition law expert) from CHSH Dezső and Partners, both senior attorneys. The panel discussed, among others, the presumptions introduced by the Damages Directive, the questions of follow on and stand alone actions, parental liability, and the difficulties of obtaining evidence during private antitrust litigation. The later issues is even more important in Hungary as the new regulation on Civil Procedures was entered into force on the 1st of January, 2018.
Dr. András Tóth, the vice-president of the Hungarian Competition Authority and chairmen of department at Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church, was then gave a lecture on the role of the Hungarian Competition Authority in private antitrust litigation. The vice-president stressed in his lecture, that in his view, private enforcement claims undermines the effectiveness of the leniency regime of the European Commission. For this reason, the Hungarian Competition Authority intends to play a conservative role during the discovery procedures, namely to narrowly define the documents from its own file, the parties to the litigation may get access to during discovery.
Simone Kohnz, the lead expert at the economic advisory firm E.CA E.CA Economics in Berlin, rövid briefly summarized the role of the economic experts in private enforcement cases. Simone in her lecture touched all the relevant questions which are analysed in more detail in the chapter written by the German expert in the book. She, in a very comprehensive way, presented on of the most important issues of private enforcement actions, which is to econometrically calculate the total amount of damages suffered in connection to a competition law infringement. In order to properly assess the total amount of damage, the parties will need well prepared economic experts and fine-tuned econometric models.
After Simone’s most interesting lecture, another, yet international panel discussion took place, moderated by Dr. András Osztovits, chief justice of the Curia (the Supreme Court of Hungary). The panel’s main topic was the foreign experiences in private enforcement litigation. The panel members were Wieke van Eekhout, from Van Doorne Amsterdam, Jason Woodland, partner at Peters&Peters from London and Bernhard Kofler-Senoner, the competition law partner at CHSH Vienna. The foreign experts touched the issue of class actions, limitation in cross border cases, parental liability and discovery. The event was closed after a lively academic debate by the participants.