Conference on Competition and Innovation


In March 2011, ZEW, the Mannheim Centre for Competition and Innovation (MaCCI), the University of Mannheim and the WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management hosted the conference "Public and Private Enforcement of Competition Law – Legal and Economic Perspectives".

Around 60 lawyers and economists from Germany and other European countries attended the conference in order to discuss and to learn about the current challenges of public and private enforcement of competition law.

Joachim Bornkamm (Judge at the Federal Supreme Court of Germany) gave the keynote speech on the significance of public and private enforcement of competition law. He talked about the EU Commission’s plans on private enforcement of competition law. In particular, he addressed the issue of “class actions” and “passing-on defence”. The keynote was followed by a panel discussion on “Public Enforcement – Fines and the Skimming Off of Illegal Gains by Competition Authorities”. Gerhard Dannecker of the University of Heidelberg gave the introductory presentation on this topic. He raised the question whether damages should be deducted from fines, and plead in favour of harmonising the regulations for the calculation of fines in the individual EU member states. The second panel discussion focused on the private enforcement of competition law. Based on theoretical models, Martin Hellwig of Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods raised questions on the legal approach to the so-called “passing-on defence”. Rainer Becker of the EU Commission took up Prof. Hellwig’s remarks and indicated if and how these conceptual considerations for calculating damages could be realised in the near future.

The second conference day started off with the panel discussion on “Interaction of Public and Private Enforcement”. Thomas Ackermann of the University of Munich discussed the relation between the calculation of fines and the calculation of damages in private suits. Gunnar Niels of the consultancy OXERA presented a variety of possible empirical methods to calculate damages. The next panel discussion was devoted to the procedural aspects of public and private enforcement. Andreas Heinemann of the University of Zurich showed the close relation between the importance of alleged offences and the principles for accessing evidence in a legal order. Ulrich Schwalbe of the University of Hohenheim dealt with the different leniency programmes in the EU member states from an economic perspective and their interaction with private claims for damages.

The conference was perceived as a great example for the successful dialogue between economists and lawyers. It is aimed to be followed by other MaCCI conferences in the future which aim at fostering the interaction between academic researchers and professionals.

For further information please visit

Dr. Nina Leheyda,