European Competition Soft Law to Court: A Matter of Hard Principles ?


European Law Journal

November 2008, vol. 14, n°6, pp.753-772

pas sous affiliation hecThis article analyses whether and how competition soft law instruments are taken into consideration by the European Courts and the Advocates General. The quantitative analysis of the case-law reveals that even if arguments based on competition guidelines or notices were brought to court since the early days of European law, it is only during the last two decades that they have been taken seriously. The results of the qualitative analysis point to the fact that soft law instruments are considered by the European Courts an important and specific part of the body of European norms that they should use when deciding cases submitted for their judgment. Legal effects are recognised to these not legally binding instruments, but only when it serves the enforcement of hard, general principles of law.