ZÁSADA NULLUM CRIMEN SINE LEGE A UKLADANIE SANKCIÍ V SÚŤAŽNOM PRÁVE
Principle of NULLUM CRIMEN SINE LEGE and sanctions in competition law
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In its judgment in case “Marianum”, given in 2011, the Supreme Court of Slovak Republic ruled that imposing sanctions for the breach of the general prohibition of abuse of dominant position contravenes the constitutional principle of nullum crimen sine lege. The legal opinion of the Supreme Court has been followed by several other panels of judges of the Supreme Court as well as from the Regional Court in Bratislava in other cases and thus represents an important precedent for the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic as the body entrusted with enforcement of the competition rules. The opinion of the Supreme Court is novel and represents a shift from its previous attitude taken in similar cases. Given the binding nature of the European court´s judicature for the national courts, in the present paper, the judgment of the Supreme Court is analysed, first of all in the context of the caselaw of the general Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union. It can be submitted that although the European law uses the concept of the “novelty of the case” and the European Commission possess a wide range of discretion on whether it imposes a fine or not, the mere fact that a breach of the general prohibition is concerned does not represent the impossibility of the competition authority to impose the fine. Furthermore, the paper is focused on the relevant case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, especially with regard to the changes regarding the standard of human rightsprotection brought about by the Lisbon Treaty. Based on the analysed case-law of both Luxembourg and Strasbourg courts, the author comments the opinion of the Supreme Court taken in the given judgment and its implications for the competition law enforcement in Slovakia.
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