Parents Get the Blame Again – ECJ confirms circumstances in which a parent company can be held liable for a breach of competition rules by its subsidiaries.

    October 2009

    The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently confirmed that a parent company may be held liable for the anti-competitive behaviour of its subsidiaries, despite the absence of any involvement by the parent company itself1. The ECJ ruling also clarifies the criteria to determine a parent company's liability and on which party the various burdens of proof lie. This judgment follows an appeal brought by five companies belonging to the Akzo Nobel Group against a decision made by the European Court of First Instance (CFI), itself upholding a previous Commission decision2.