Welcome to the Hearing Officers' web pages. Here you will find information about the mission and role of the Hearing Officers and learn how the Hearing Officers can help you. The Hearing Officers' main roles are to organize and conduct the oral hearing and act as an independent arbiter where a dispute on the effective exercise of procedural rights between parties and DG Competition arises in antitrust and merger proceedings. In such matters, the Hearing Officers generally intervene only where a dispute cannot be resolved by the parties and DG Competition. The Hearing Officers also decide on applications to be heard by third persons in the proceedings. Such applications must be submitted directly to the Hearing Officers.
Briefly, our main tasks in antitrust and merger proceedings are the following:
- to organize and conduct the oral hearings;
- to ensure the effective exercise of procedural rights throughout proceedings including commitments and cartel settlement procedures;
- to ensure the respect of the right to be heard;
- to deal with specific issues raised during the investigative phase of Commission proceedings, including claims for legal professional privilege, the privilege against self-incrimination, deadlines for replying to decisions requiring information and the right of undertakings and associations of undertakings to be informed of their procedural status;
- to ensure that the right to access the file and the undertakings' legitimate interests in confidentiality are respected;
- to report on the outcome of the hearing and on the respect for the effective exercise of procedural rights; and
- to present, where appropriate, observations to the Competition Commissioner on any matter arising out of individual competition proceedings.
We hope these web pages will serve as a useful tool for you in understanding who we are and what we do.