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Practice area Competition law

Knowledge of competition rules has been brought together in the Competition, Market Regulation & State Aid section.

Knowledge of competition rules has been brought together in the Competition, Market Regulation & State Aid section. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) and the European Commission (EC) monitor compliance with these rules. As well as the ACM, other supervisory bodies such as the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) and the Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa) are also active in the field of market regulation.

Competition law forbids cartel agreements between undertakings such as price agreements and market-sharing agreements between competitors. Competition law also forbids the abuse of dominant positions by undertakings such as the exclusion of competitors by refusing them access to an essential facility. In upholding these prohibitions, the supervisory authority is paying increasing attention to the digitalisation of the economy and therefore also to the (restrictions of) online sale of products. Undertakings breaching the cartel prohibition or the prohibition of abuse of a dominant position, risk being fined by the supervisory authority. This also applies to natural persons involved in a breach. Employers’ associations are also bound by the rules of competition law. They may not take decisions which restrict competition.

Competition law is relied on more and more in civil proceedings. An agreement in conflict with the cartel prohibition is void for example and a legal entity/person disadvantaged by a cartel can claim compensation from a cartel member. Mergers, takeovers and joint ventures must be notified to the ACM, the EC and/or the NZa in advance if specific (turnover) thresholds are exceeded.

The rules of competition law provide opportunities for one party whilst they may mean an impediment or risk for another party. Our lawyers in this section have wide experience with the application of competition law. We know both the ACM and the business world inside out.

In the field of competition law we advise and assist undertakings on: 

  • drafting and assessing (horizontal) partnerships/partnership agreements 
  • notifying mergers, takeovers and formation of joint ventures to the ACM, EC and NZa 
  • assessing takeover contracts and shareholders’ agreements and providing advice and assistance during (sanction) investigations by the ACM and/or the EC, including assistance during a raid/company visit  advice on the drafting and implementation of codes of conduct and compliance programmes 
  • drafting and assessing vertical commercial contracts such as (selective) distribution and franchise  conducting cartel harm proceedings 
  • advice and assistance during (other) competition law issues before the civil court, such as nullity, non-competition clause or market-sharing agreement.