Report of the C.D. Howe Institute Competition Policy Council
TORONTO, Oct. 30, 2013 /CNW/ - The Supreme Court will rule on Thursday,
October 31, in landmark Competition Act decisions, Pro-Sys v. Microsoft, Sun-Rype v. Archer Daniels Midland, and Infineon Technologies AG et autres c. Option Consommateurs et autres. The key question before the Court is, when anticompetitive cartel
behaviour is alleged in class action proceedings, should indirect
purchasers, such as retailers and end consumers, have standing to sue
The Court's rulings will have important implications for class action
law and competition practice. Given the structure of the Canadian
economy, it may be that the group most affected by an international
cartel's pricing behaviour will be indirect purchasers. Absent Canadian
indirect purchasers having standing in a suit brought under the
Competition Act, there could be no domestic route to a private action
against an alleged cartel, or therefore no domestic compensation for
those who have suffered loss.
Accurately determining appropriate damages and to whom they should be
awarded in cartel cases is a complex and uncertain undertaking.
Whether, and to what extent, a cartel overcharge might get passed down
the distribution chain is a difficult economic and practical question.
Complexity, however, should not necessarily be a bar to indirect
purchasers' obtaining standing, although they may make a class
proceeding unmanageable. Given the likelihood that awards to individual
class members might be very small, or zero, even should a suit succeed,
it appears that deterrence, not compensation, should be the aim of law
and policy. This is the consensus view of the C.D. Howe Institute's
Competition Policy Council, which held its sixth meeting on October 24,
The Competition Policy Council comprises top-ranked academics and
practitioners active in the field of competition policy. The Council,
chaired by Finn Poschmann, Vice President, Research at the C.D. Howe
Institute, provides analysis of emerging competition policy issues.
Professor Edward Iacobucci, Osler Chair in Business Law at the
University of Toronto and Competition Policy Scholar at the Institute,
advises the program, along with Benjamin Dachis, Senior Policy Analyst.
The Council, whose members participate in their personal capacities,
convenes a neutral forum to test competing visions and to share views
on competition policy with practitioners, policymakers and the public.
For the full Communique go to: http://www.cdhowe.org/who-gets-in-class-actions-and-indirect-purchasers-in-competition-law/23346
SOURCE: C.D. Howe Institute
For further information:
contact: Finn Poschmann, Vice President, Research, or Benjamin Dachis, Senior Policy Analyst, C.D. Howe Institute, 416-865-1904