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Parallel Enforcement of International Cartels and Its Impact on the Proportionality of Overall Punishment

On 10 March 2021, Pieter Huizing defended his thesis 'Parallel Enforcement of International Cartels and Its Impact on the Proportionality of Overall Punishment'. The doctoral thesis was supervised by Prof. T.R. Ottervanger.

Pieter Huizing
10 March 2021
Leiden Repository

This dissertation assesses the current practices of parallel enforcement of international cartels from the perspective of proportionality of the overall punishment. The international community of active cartel enforcers continues to grow. This has resulted in global cartels commonly being pursued in parallel in more than five jurisdictions, sometimes even more than ten. Still, there is currently very little international coordination aimed at limiting multiple enforcement of the same overarching cartel behaviour. Rather than adopting jurisdictional self-restraint, authorities appear keen to extend their extraterritorial reach to punish foreign cartel conduct. In addition, current sanctioning of international cartels is characterised by the piling on of individual fines imposed on the basis of domestically-focused sanctioning policies. These policies typically do not take into account foreign sanctions already imposed for the same overall conduct. This also means that authorities are not taking into account the proportionality of the overall punishment, neither from a retributive nor from a consequentialist perspective.

Based on the research presented in this dissertation, it is submitted that overall proportionality of fines for international cartels can only be ensured if authorities take into account the extent to which retributive and deterrence objectives have already been achieved through sanctions imposed elsewhere.

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