COMPETITION • FRENCH LAW • PROCEDURE
According to the terms of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights,”[…] everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law“. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the Union formulates the same principle in Article 47(2). These provisions have sometimes been invoked to challenge the Competition Authority’s combining of the functions of investigation and judgment, due to the presence of the rapporteur général and the rapporteur in deliberations. After a period where this was tolerated, it is now established case law that, in principle, the participation of the rapporteur in deliberations, even when he/she has no vote, constitutes grounds for the annulment of the decision. In addition, the Conseil constitutionnel considered that ex officio proceedings brought by the Competition Authority do not violate the principle of independence and impartiality as long as there are sufficient guarantees, such as the investigation of the case under the sole direction of the rapporteur général or the absence of the latter from the deliberations of the Authority.