8. Competition Talk of the BWB on 5.11.2013

With the 8th and, for the year 2013 last Competition Talk organized by the BWB, Prof. DDr. Doris Hildebrand (EE & MC), Dr. Michael Böheim (WIFO) and Mag. Nikolaus Schaller (cartel court) took part in this discussion panel led by MMag. Agnes Streissler-Führer.

Hildebrand spoke about economical testing in all instances

Prof. Doris Hildebrand underlined at the beginning of her speech, that not only the first instance but also the other instances of appeal have economical knowledge and do not only review legal queries but also has to take up the decision of the previous instance and if necessary to question expert opinions. The European Court of Justice supports this approach of "Full-Review", likewise the cartel court in Germany (OLG Duesseldorf), which evaluates the full decision of the "Bundeskartellamt" inclusively the expert economic opinions.

Boeheim spoke about expert opinions and cost reduction

Dr. Michael Boeheim outlined several problematic areas in the field of expert opinions. It should rather be critically assessed whether the selection procedure is actually objective, or if would be even more appropriate to establish a "Request of Services", which means to make a tender for expert opinions, who declare their willingness for five years, to accept orders of the court for furnishing an opinion. Further on the scope of an expert opinion, influencing the general tremendous costs for the parties, which means for the businesses, which have to pay all costs incurred, should be kept in mind. For small businesses those costs have existence-threatening effects and this mentioned "Request of Services" could decrease these costs.

Schaller spoke about quality requirements of an expert opinion

Firstly Mag. Schaller discovered parallels between expert opinions and civil proceedings or cartel proceedings and recognized the minimal difference between the listing of potential experts in the "KartG". Essential for him is the quality (commitment to the European guidelines) at least a clear separation of the results and the actual expert opinion itself. Between experts unity should prevail , if different conclusions can be drawn.

Many open topics - many different contributions to the discussions

In the further discussion several different problem areas were debated: The appointment procedure of experts, the black box of methods used by experts, the comprehensibility of expert opinions, the possibility of intermediary expert opinions, the role and possibility of the influence by the parties themselves on the experts, the time pressure of merger proceedings, shifting first instance decisions to the BWB and last but not least the role of experts, which might remain between an actual and a permanent supervisor for specific questions within proceedings.

The BWB concluded that an evaluation of previous expert opinions will be performed in order to develop certain standards and the question of official experts has to be clarified within the BWB itself.