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European briefing

Does the ECHR apply to commercial as well as private premises? Paul Stanley reports on a recent ECJ decision

1 November 2002

The ECJ judgment in Case 94/00 Roquette Freres SA, given 22 October 2002 is an important reconsideration of protection given fundamental rights in competition proceedings. Facts In September 1998 Roquette (R) was ordered to submit to a competition investigation. The Commission wanted to investigate whether R had participated in a cartel relating to sodium gluconate and glucono-delta-lactone (industrial and food processing chemical products). Roquette had to give Commission and national officials access to premises and records, to inspect them, and immediately explain anything the officials might ask about. The Commission had evidence suggesting the existence of a classic horizontal cartel which, if proved, would be squarely contrary to Art 81 EC (ex Art 85). The cartel, if it existed, would naturally be secret; investigation was therefore bound to require full use of the Commission’s powers. The Commission sought assistance from the competent French authoriti...

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