‘What can the European Commission’s Direct Settlement Procedure learn from the US Plea Bargaining System?’

The CCP seminar series continues on Friday 20th May with the magnificent Scott Summers (CCP and LAW) asking ‘What can the European Commission’s Direct Settlement Procedure learn from the US Plea Bargaining System?‘. Scott is a PhD Researcher and Associate Tutor at the UEA Law School. He reads widely in the area of Competition Law with a specialist interest in cartels. His research also extends to Human Rights Law and his PhD thesis considers the extent to which EU cartel enforcement complies with the rights enshrined within the European Convention on Human Rights and the principle of equal treatment. An abstract for his paper can be found below.

Abstract

Since 2008 the Commission has operated a settlement procedure for cases involving cartels. However, the uptake and use of this procedure has been slow; so far there has been a mere seventeen settlements. The EU settlement procedure has a variety of differences to that of the US plea bargaining system. The US system is utilised in more than ninety percent of cases. This paper therefore seeks to ask the question of what the EU settlement procedure can learn from the US plea bargaining system to help improve its utilisation, success and efficiency, whilst ensuring that it complies with Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The paper begins by considering the cases that the Commission has settled so far under the procedure to identify weaknesses and procedural issues within the current approach. Then, the question of whether plea bargaining is compatible with Article 6 of the ECHR is deconstructed and analysed. Once it has been established that it is compatible, a discussion is had about the possibility of implementing such a system within the EU. The paper concludes by identifying ways in which the EU direct settlement procedure’s efficiency and utilisation can be improved whilst ensuring compatibility.

The seminar takes place from 13:00-14:00 in the Thomas Paine Study Centre, Room 1.03.

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