The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon
RESAVSKA 23, 11000 BELGRADE, SERBIA
Tel:
Work +381 11 30 94 200
Fax:
Fax +381 11 30 94 223
Email:
Web:
https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com

Show all Press releases

New Way of Claiming Damages for Competition Law Infringements in Croatia

August 2017

On the 22nd of July, 2017, the Law on Actions for Damages for Competition Law Infringements came into force in Croatia (the "Law"), implementing the EU Damages Directive​. Even though the existing Competition Law provides for the possibility of private enforcement in a relatively general manner, private claims for damages suffered from antitrust breaches have been underdeveloped and rarely utilised in Croatia (and in the rest of the region).

The Law applies to any person who suffered damages from any competition law infringement, and such a person is entitled to full compensation, with statutory interest. Therefore, compensation can be claimed not only by the distributor, but also by the customer who suffered damages. The law fully implements the mechanisms stipulated by the Damages Directive, including:

  • the pass-on presumption;
  • objective liability; and,
  • the presumption of cartel damages.

The procedural novelties introduced by the Law shall certainly challenge the Croatian judiciary. One of the most important procedural rules concerns the disclosure of evidence, which may be requested by either party, if it can reasonably indicate that the other party (or a third party) possesses such evidence. Prior to ordering the disclosure, the court will ask the parties whether they possess the evidence. Should they claim the contrary, the court may use other evidences for establishing such a fact. This may prolong the entire procedure and ultimately downsize the positive effects of the disclosure.

If the requesting party is the plaintiff, it also needs to show before the court that its claim is well-grounded. If the requested party does not comply, the court is expected to consider the facts to which such evidence relates as established. As these rules are a procedural novelty that deviates from the regular course of evidence in litigations, Croatian judges may find it challenging to follow them- especially, since they are mandatory and not optional.​

Confidentiality is not a valid basis for non-disclosure, but the applicant can request from the court to protect sensitive information. Attorney/client privilege, as well as leniency statements and settlement submissions, are still considered protected and cannot be used as evidence for damage claims. While a party can seek the disclosure of evidence gathered by the competition authority, such evidence can only be disclosed following the conclusion of the case.

For the purpose of damages actions, a final infringement decision of the Croatian Competition Agency or the Croatian High Administrative Court is considered an irrefutable evidence of infringement and the decisions of a competition authority, or a court of another EU Member State, represent a rebuttable presumption of infringement. The statute of limitations is set at 5 years from the conclusion of the infringement, or the date when the aggrieved party could have been aware of the infringement, damages suffered and the identity of the infringer. In any case, the claim is ultimately time-barred after 15 years following the end of the infringement.

With the Law's adoption, Croatia is following the trend of increasing its attention towards the private enforcement of competition law. While there is undoubtedly still a lot of work ahead and a lot of experience is needed before the courts are comfortable with granting significant compensation, the new procedural tools should encourage compliance and help in sanctioning competition law infringers. More importantly, the new framework should help to provide a measure of justice to those hurt directly by anti-competitive arrangements. Now, it is up to the plaintiffs to step up and claim their due compensation.

The information in this document does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only.

Legal Developments by:
Karanović & Nikolić

Legal Developments in Serbia

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Geographical Indications Of Origin In Serbia: Where The Past Fuels The Future

    This article was written by Dragomir Kojić, Partner ⃰, and Tamara Bubalo, Associate ⃰, and was originally published in Issue 5.2 of the CEE Legal Matters Magazine. To see the original article, please follow this link.
  • Striving Towards the Black Gold

    This article was written by Petar Mitrović, Partner ⃰, and Nikolina Kažić, Associate ⃰, and was originally published in Issue 5.2 of the CEE Legal Matters Magazine To see the original article, please follow this
  • Montenegro To Publish A Tender For A 200 MW Solar Power Plant

    The Montenegrin Government plans to publish a tender for the lease of state land for the purpose of constructing a solar power plant in the municipality of Ulcinj. According to the announcement, the tender envisages a total of 6,621,121 square meters of land for the planning, construction, exploitation, and maintenance of a solar power plant at Briska gora, in the very south of Montenegro.
  • Laying the Foundations: ZF Group Building a Factory in Serbia

    The Karanović & Nikolić team, led by Senior Partner Marjan Poljak and Senior Associates ⃰ Ana Stanković and Ana Luković, advised ZF Friedrichshafen on the project of opening an electric vehicle parts factory in Pančevo, Serbia. The German company, a global leader specialising in the design, research and development, and manufacturing activities in the automotive industry, laid the foundations and began construction on 21 June 2018.
  • Interview with Patricia Gannon: The Importance of Female Leadership in Law Today

    Patricia Gannon, founding partner at Karanović & Nikolić, was recently appointed Chair of the European Forum at the International Bar Association . In this interview, she discusses her role at the helm of the largest global gathering of legal professionals and tackles the important topic of diversity in law, as well as female leadership from her unique perspective as female co-founder of a leading law firm from Southeast Europe.
  • Raspberries and IT: New Sector Inquiries by the Serbian Competition Commission

    The Serbian Competition Commission (the " Commission ") recently finished sector inquiries concerning quite distinct industries – raspberries and the public procurement for software and hardware. The aim behind the inquiries was to perform extensive market research and analysis in order to acquire a clearer picture of the possible antitrust issues and risks in two sectors widely perceived as strategic for the development of the Serbian economy.
  • Even More Sector Inquiries: Sportswear And Oil Retail Under Scrutiny By The Serbian Commission

    The Serbian Competition Commission (the " Commission ") continues its diligent examination of the Serbian competitive landscape in specific industries, this time with inquiries in two more industries – sportswear (including footwear and sporting equipment) and oil (petroleum products). Once again, the aim behind the market test was to identify potential issues on the relevant markets and provide broader insight into the functioning of the relevant markets.
  • New Amendments to Serbian Tax Laws

    At the end of 2017, the Serbian Parliament passed amendments to Serbian tax laws, including the Law on Personal Income Tax (PIT Law), the Law on Contributions on Mandatory Social Insurance (CMSI Law), the Law on Corporate Income Tax (CIT Law), and the Law on Value Added Tax (VAT Law).
  • Permit-free Regime for Construction in Montenegro

    The new Construction Law entered into force in Montenegro and it is meant to unify construction, zoning regulations and deal with illegal objects. However, some provisions of the old Construction Law still remain in force, until the adoption of the General Regulation Plan.
  • Amendments To The Slovenian Construction Law

    With the aim of breathing a bit of fresh air into the construction legislation, three new laws have been adopted recently and will be applied with effect from 1 July 2018. The current Construction Act will be replaced with both the new Building Act and the Architectural and Civil Engineering Activities Act, while the current Spatial Management Act will also be subject to certain amendments.