An undertaking may be penalised if it infringes any of the prohibitions contained in the Competition Act. Sanctions include administrative fines, orders imposing obligations (backed up by default fines), nullity and damages. A trading prohibition may also be imposed on a person who exercises management control over an undertaking.
The courts make decisions on administrative fines. Obligations are imposed by the Swedish Competition Authority or, in the second instance, by the Market Court at the instance of an undertaking. A person who participates in a cartel may receive a trading prohibition in certain cases. A court shall impose a trading prohibition at the instance of the Swedish Competition Authority. Nullity does not require any decision stating that the agreement is a nullity, but the agreement is void from the outset. Damages may arise following court proceedings by the party adversely affected by an undertaking infringing the competition rules.
An undertaking that knowingly or negligently infringes any of the prohibitions contained in the Competition Act may be liable to pay an administrative fine (i.e. a kind of fine). Stockholm City Court shall make a decision on the administrative fine following a request by the Swedish Competitive Authority.
The amount of the administrative fine is primarily set on the basis of the gravity of the infringement and its duration. Attenuating or aggravating circumstances, and the market power of the undertaking may also be taken into account.
Administrative fines may amount to no more than ten per cent of the undertaking’s total annual turnover.
Leniency – Immunity and Reduction of fines
It is possible for undertakings to be completely or partly exempted from administrative fines if they notify their involvement in a cartel to the Swedish Competition Authority. More information on what is required for undertakings to benefit from leniency can be found on our leniency site.
The Swedish Competition Authority may decide on an administrative fine if the infringement is established and the parties agree. A fine order that has been accepted is regarded to be a legally binding judgment.
Order imposing obligation – default fine
If an undertaking infringes any of the prohibitions contained in the Competition Act, the Swedish Competition Authority may order the undertaking to terminate the infringement.
The obligation imposed may be that the undertaking must stop applying a certain agreement, terms of agreement or some other prohibited practice. The order may also relate to, for example, an obligation concerning sales, rectification or prices.
An obligation may be imposed under penalty of a fine for default. If the undertaking does not make rectifications following the obligation, a general court will decide on whether the fine should be imposed following a request from the Swedish Competition Authority.
Stockholm City Court may impose a trading prohibition on a person who exercises control over an undertaking that participates in cartel activities. A trading prohibition may be avoided if the person concerned facilitates the investigation of the Swedish Competition Authority to a significant extent. More information on trading prohibitions and the possibility of securing immunity can be found on our trading prohibition site.
Special right to legal action
An undertaking affected by the infringement is entitled to institute proceedings for an obligation at the Market Court in those cases where there has been no intervention by the Swedish Competition Authority.
An agreement that violates the prohibition against anti-competitive cooperationis void in private law; that is, a general court cannot order a party to perform the agreement. The courts shall determine in accordance with the customary rules on interpretation whether the entire agreement or just some of the clauses of an agreement are deemed to be void.
Damages for other undertakings
An undertaking that intentionally or negligently infringes any of the prohibitions contained in the Competition Act or EU competition rules may be liable to compensate the damage caused by the infringement.
The Group Proceedings Act may be applied in the event of a claim for damages as a consequence of infringements to competition.