Antitrust: Commission adopts guidance for national courts when handling disclosure of confidential information

The European Commission has adopted a Communication on the protection of confidential information by national courts in proceedings for the private enforcement of EU competition law. This follows a targeted public consultation that the Commission launched on 29 July 2019 inviting comments from stakeholders on the draft communication. During the public consultation, the Commission received contributions from various stakeholders that confirmed the need for further guidance concerning the disclosure of evidence. The Antitrust Damages Directive helps citizens and companies claim damages if they are victims of infringements of EU antitrust rules. In this regard, national courts are likely to receive requests for disclosure of evidence containing confidential information. It is very important that national courts strike the right balance between the claimants’ right to access relevant information and the right of a party to protect confidential information. To support national courts in this task, the Commission has adopted a Communication seeking to provide practical guidance to national courts in selecting effective protective measures, considering among others the specific circumstances of the case, the type of information requested, the extent of the disclosure, the parties and relationships concerned as well as any administrative burdens and cost implications. The Communication is available in all official languages here.