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The German Federal Court of Justice rules on the statute of limitations for cartel damages claims

Related Lawyers: Dr. Alex Petrasincu, Christopher Rother
Related Practice Areas: Competition Litigation

In a landmark ruling today, the Federal Court of Justice (“FCJ”) ruled on the statute of limitations for cartel damages claims.

Since July 2005, the German Act against Restraints provides that the statute of limitations for damages claims is suspended pending an investigation by competition authorities.  In today’s decision, the FCJ clarified that this suspension also applies to claims that arose prior to 1 July 2005. In its press release, the FCJ stated that the applicability of the suspension period to claims arising prior to the date on which the new law took effect corresponds with a general legal concept. This clarification is of the utmost importance for victims of cartels that began prior to July 2005, such as e.g. the truck cartel.

While the written decision has not yet been published, the FCJ is also understood to have clarified that interest of up to 4 percent can apply to cartel damage claims that arose prior to July 2005.  For claims that arose since July 2005, interest is 5 percentage points above the ECB base rate.

This decision is a crucial step towards strengthening private enforcement in Germany. Many injured parties now keep a realistic chance of being able to compensate for damages in Germany after long-standing cartels have been detected.

Press release regarding Federal Court of Justice judgement of June 12, 2018, KZR 56/16 – Grauzementkartell II;