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Competition and Market Regulation

Businesses operating in a free market economy are forbidden restrict or abuse their economic freedom to the disadvantage of consumers. When they neglect competition rules they run the risk of incurring a cartel fine – often quite a hefty one. In the Netherlands, the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) safeguards consumers’ rights and ensures compliance with competition law.

Pels Rijcken's attorneys are very experienced in handling competition procedures, also with cases brought before the European Commission. The ACM regularly requires their assistance in procedures brought by market parties concerning cartel decisions or with regard to merger control. Corporate clients also call on Pels Rijcken's competition specialists, for example if they are confronted with a claim for damages following a cartel fine.

Where competition law does not suffice to adequately regulate a market  supplemental regulation  is required. In the telecommunications sector, for instance, EU regulation is deemed necessary in order to promote a fully competitive market  . As far as the energy market is concerned, grid managers have a monopoly on transport of electricity and gas to consumers, and their rates have been regulated to ensure that these consumers pay a competitive priceIn the healthcare sector the rates of healthcare services are regulated in order to keep costs in check.  Another example of a regulated market is the transport sector, where the rates of providers with a dominant position, such as Schiphol or the registered pilots, are regulated by market forces.

Pels Rijcken has specialised attorneys with years of experience in these fields. They advise supervisory authorities on the formulation of - often complex - regulatory decisions, and have defended dozens of regulatory decisions in court. An important part of their work is understanding the technology of the sectors and the economic principles upon which the regulation is founded. And they are second to none when it comes to understanding the aspects of administrative law involved. They are therefore always able to offer a valuable contribution whenever they act on behalf of supervisory authorities.