On 21 July 2017, Law Ν. 113(I)/2017 on Actions for Damages for Infringements of Competition Law came into force, following its publication in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cyprus. The law in question transposes into Cyprus law Directive 2014/104/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 November 2014 on certain rules governing actions for damages under national law for infringements of the competition law provisions of the Member States and of the European Union.
More specifically, Law Ν. 113(I)/2017 sets out rules necessary to ensure that anyone who has suffered harm due to an infringement of competition law by an undertaking or by an association of undertakings, can effectively exercise the right to claim full compensation for that harm from the relevant undertaking or association thereof.
The provisions of the new law provide parties with easier access to evidence they need in the context of actions for damages in the antitrust field. In particular, where a party requires documents that are in the hands of other parties or third parties or in the file of a national competition authority, to prove a claim or a defence, it may, under specified circumstances, obtain a court order for the disclosure of such documents. Disclosure of categories of evidence, described as precisely and narrowly as possible, will also be possible. The judge will have to ensure, inter alia, that disclosure orders are proportionate and that confidential information is duly protected. Rules are also set out which place limits on the use of evidence obtained solely through access to the file of a competition authority and on the sanctions that the Court may impose.
The law importantly provides that a final infringement decision of the Cyprus Commission for the Protection of Competition will constitute irrebuttable evidence before civil courts proceedings for a claim for damages. A final infringement decision issued by another Member State, may be submitted before the court as prima facie evidence of the infringement of competition law and may be evaluated in parallel with other evidence presented by the parties.
The law also establishes rules regarding the liability of undertakings or associations of undertakings which infringed competition law with reference to the loss caused, the determination of loss, limitation period for damages claims, as well as the effects of consensual settlements on subsequent actions for damages.