Extensive amendments to the Danish Competition Act passed
The Danish Parliament has now passed a number of extensive and radical amendments to the Danish Competition Act which will enter into force on 4 March 2021. Among other things, the amendments include civil fines for companies, fines for simple negligent infringements, parent company liability, vicarious liability for members of trade organisations, a possibility of bringing decisions directly before the courts without involving the Danish Competition Appeals Committee, a possibility of imposing structural remedies and a possibility of carrying out inspections or searches in private homes.
The amendments to the Act are necessary on account of the so-called ECN+ Directive which completely harmonises numerous aspects of Member States' enforcement of the EU competition (read the Directive)
The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority's first draft for the bill was sent out for consultation on 29 September 2020. A number of organisations submitted their views in response to the consultation document, including the Association of Danish Law Firms. Plesner contributed to the response.
As a result of the consultation, the Danish Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs made some adjustments to the bill which was introduced in the Danish Parliament on 9 December 2020 (read Plesner’s previous insight)
The bill attracted criticism from several parties and was subjected to an extensive review by the Parliament’s Trade and Industry Committee, including in the form of a public consultation. Following this, the Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs presented a number of amendments in Parliament. The bill has now been passed with the amendments proposed by the Danish Ministry for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs.
Read the passed bill (in Danish)
Passing and coming into force of the bill
The amendments will come into force on 4 March 2021. However, competition proceedings in which the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority has submitted a statement of objections at an earlier time or in which the Danish State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime (SØIK) has charged someone, are still to be considered under the present rules (except for the possibility of bringing decisions directly before the courts, which will also apply to existing cases).
The amendments will make it easier for the competition authorities to discover and sanction infringements of competition law. In addition, the amendments will increase the risk of fines being imposed on companies for infringements committed by subsidiaries.
Accordingly, the new rules give undertakings good reason to review their own and any subsidiaries’ compliance programmes in order to ensure that they do not infringe the competition rules.
Read a full review of the amendments on our Danish website