A company or manager who is charged in a decision of the President of the OCCP of violating the Competition Act has the right to appeal the OCCP’s decision to the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection. Also appealable are certain OCCP decisions issued during its investigatory proceedings. For instance, a party can appeal an OCCP decision setting out the extent of protection the OCCP agrees to grant in response to a party’s claim that certain documents (or parts of documents) are the party’s business secrets and should not be revealed to other parties or to the public. Moreover, specific decisions and actions of the OCCP in connection with conducted dawn raids or searches may be appealed by the affected party.
Our Firm represents clients at every stage of the investigatory proceedings before the President of the OCCP. Hansberry Tomkiel has drafted and filed a number of appeals of decisions of the OCCP President. Many of the appeals were argued before the Competition Court, the Court of Appeals and finally, in fewer cases, to the Supreme Court.
A well-constructed and strategic defence makes it possible to change an unfavourable decision of the President of the OCCP. In many appellate cases, the Competition and/or Court of Appeals considerably reduced levels of imposed fines, dismissed infringement findings, and annulled decisions of the OCCP.
One of the Firm’s recent appellate successes involved our representation of a client before the Competition Court, which annulled the OCCP’s decision in which the OCCP had charged our client with resale price maintenance (RPM). The positive outcome of this case was especially significant as defendants rarely win cases concerning RPM allegations, but even more rarely do so in cases in which a leniency applicant testified. As noted in the Leniency programme section herein, in addition to horizontal violations of the Polish Competition Act, leniency is also available to companies and individuals charged with vertical violations of the Competition Act.