Purpose of a Statement of Objections

Purpose of a Statement of Objections

Purpose of a Statement of Objections

A Statement of Objections (“SO”) must be used in procedures in which the Commission intends to adopt a decision adverse to the interests of the addressees, i.e. finding an infringement of Article 101 or 102 TFEU and ordering its termination and/or imposing behavioural or structural remedies on the parties (Article 7 of Regulation 1/2003 and Commission Notice on best practices for the conduct of proceedings concerning Articles 101 and 102 TFEU1 (“Best Practices Notice”), paragraph 83), ordering interim measures (Article 8 of Regulation 1/2003), imposing fines (whether for procedural or substantive infringements) (Article 23 of Regulation 1/2003) or periodic penalty payments (Article 24 of Regulation 1/2003), as well as withdrawing in an individual case the benefit of a block exemption (Article 29(1) of Regulation 1/2003).

More about Purpose of a Statement of Objections

The purpose of the SO is to inform the parties concerned of the objections raised against them with a view to enabling them to exercise their rights of defence in writing and orally (at the hearing). 1 The undertakings concerned must be provided with all the information they need to defend themselves effectively and to comment on the allegations made against them.

More about the Subject

The SO is therefore an essential procedural safeguard ensuring that the right to be heard is observed in all proceedings. 2

Other Considerations

As far as it is possible, an SO should be issued when the fact-finding is considered complete. If new elements appear after the issuing of the SO, a supplementary SO or letter of facts (see section 8 of the current module) may have to be sent, which may considerably delay the conclusion of the investigation. 3


According to the Best Practices Notice, the parties should be offered a State of Play meeting “at a sufficiently advanced stage in the investigation”, i.e. in any event before an SO is issued. This meeting gives the parties an opportunity to understand the Commission's preliminary views on the status of the case following its investigation and on the competition concerns identified. The meeting may also be used by DG Competition and by the parties to clarify certain issues and facts relevant for the outcome of the case 4 .


From the procedural perspective, an SO is not an act or a decision within the meaning of Article 263 TFEU. It thus cannot be separately challenged by an action for annulment. Rather, it is a preparatory procedural measure preceding the formal decision, and therefore any arguments concerning the legality of an SO must be raised in the context of an appeal against the final Commission decision. 5


See Also


  • Information about Purpose of a Statement of Objections in the Antitrust Manual of Procedures for the application of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU (Internal DG Competition)


[Note 1]
Regulation 1/2003; Articles 10 to 14 of Regulation 773/2004. $$3%Case C-395/96 P, CMB e.a./Commission 2000 [ECR] I-1365, paragraph 142, with reference to Joined Cases 100/80 to 103/80 Musique Diffusion Française and Others v Commission [1983] ECR 1825, paragraphs 10 and 14.
[Note 3]
Case C-167/04 P JCB Service v. Commission, [2004] ECR II-49, paragraph 52.
[Note 4]
Notice on best practices for the conduct of proceedings concerning Articles 101 and 102 TFEU (OJ C 308, 20.10.2011, p. 6) (“Best Practices Notice”), paragraph 63(2).
[Note 5]
See Case 60/81, International Business Machines Corporation v Commission, [1981] ECR 2639, paragraphs 10-21; Case T-475/08R Intel v Commission [2009] ECR II-12.

Further Reading

  • Information about Purpose of a Statement of Objections in “An Introduction to EU Competition Law”, Moritz Lorenz (Cambridge University Press)

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