The Nature of Responsibility of an Undertaking in Antitrust Proceedings and the Concept of ‘Criminal Charge’ in the Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights

The present article aims to answer the question whether an undertaking’s responsibility (sometimes also referred to as liability) in an antitrust proceeding held by the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (the Polish National Competition Authority) is of a criminal nature. The notion of ‘criminal charge’ is rather extensively construed in the jurisprudence of European Court of Human Rights, which has formulated the criteria for criminal responsibility. Taking these criteria into account, the author postulates that the severe character of pecuniary sanctions imposed in Polish antitrust proceedings is an argument for the criminal character of the proceedings. Thus the guarantees of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights should be applicable to Polish antitrust proceedings.
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