On 28 February 2013, José Luis da Cruz Vilaça, Judge at the Court of Justice of the EU, read the judgement in the case C-1/12 Ordem dos Técnicos Oficiais de Contas on Competition. The Court said that European Union law precludes a professional association from imposing on its members a system of compulsory training which in part eliminates competition and lays down discriminatory conditions to the detriment of its competitors. The fact that a professional association is required by law to put into place a system of compulsory training does not remove the rules adopted by that association from the scope of EU law. The Order of Chartered Accountants (Ordem dos Técnicos Oficiais de Contas; ‘the OTOC’) is a Portuguese professional association of which chartered accountants must be members. The OTOC represents their professional interests and oversees all aspects of the practice of their profession. By a decision of 7 May 2010, the Portuguese Competition Authority held that the Training Credits Regulation had distorted competition on the market in compulsory training for chartered accountants throughout the national territory, in breach of EU law. A fine was for that reason imposed on the OTOC. That market, it was found, had been artificially segmented, a third of it being reserved to the OTOC (12 credits out of a total of 35), and, on the other segment of that market, discriminatory conditions being imposed to the detriment of competitors of that professional association.
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