Key facts of the case:
Appeal under Article 56 of the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union, brought on 17 April 2014, by AC‑Treuhand AG, established in Zurich (Switzerland), represented by C. Steinle, I. Bodenstein and C. von Köckritz, Rechtsanwälte, applicant, the other party to the proceedings being European Commission, represented by H. Leupold, F. Ronkes Agerbeek and R. Sauer, acting as Agents, with an address for service in Luxembourg, defendant at first instance.
Appeal — Competition — Agreements, decisions and concerted practices — European tin stabiliser and ESBO/esters heat stabiliser markets — Article 81(1) EC — Scope — Consultancy firm not operating on the relevant markets — Definition of ‘agreement between undertakings’ and ‘concerted practice’ — Calculation of the amount of fines — The 2006 Guidelines on the method of setting fines — Unlimited jurisdiction.
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
...the Court (Second Chamber) hereby:
1. Dismisses the appeal.
2. Orders AC‑Treuhand AG to pay the costs.
76. On the other hand, in order to satisfy the requirements of the principle of effective judicial protection enshrined in the first paragraph of Article 47 of the Charter and bearing in mind that Article 23(3) of Regulation No 1/2003 provides that the amount of the fine must be fixed by reference to the gravity and duration of the infringement, the courts of the European Union are bound, in the exercise of the powers conferred by Articles 261 TFEU and 263 TFEU, to examine all complaints based on issues of fact and law which seek to show that the amount of the fine is not commensurate with the gravity or the duration of the infringement (see, to that effect, judgment in Commission v Parker Hannifin Manufacturing and Parker-Hannifin, C‑434/13 P, EU:C:2014:2456, paragraph 75 and the case-law cited).
77. With regard to the present case, it is apparent from paragraphs 52, 53 and 60 above that AC‑Treuhand’s complaints alleging infringement of the principle that offences and penalties must be defined by law and the principles of equal treatment and proportionality were not raised at first instance. In accordance with the case-law cited in paragraph 75 above, the General Court cannot therefore be criticised for not examining those complaints of its own motion in the exercise of its powers of unlimited jurisdiction.
78. Moreover, it should be noted that in paragraphs 268 to 314 of the judgment under appeal, the General Court examined all the complaints put forward by AC‑Treuhand relating to the determination of the amount of the fines imposed, including the complaint alleging an error of assessment as to the duration of the infringements in question, and addressed the arguments put forward to the requisite legal standard. The General Court thereby exercised its powers of review with regard to the contested decision in a manner consonant with the requirements of the principle of effective judicial protection enshrined in the first paragraph of Article 47 of the Charter.