Re-allocation of case to a NCA

Re-allocation of case to a NCA

Handling of Complaints: Re-allocation of case to a NCA

In most instances the authority that receives a complaint (or starts an ex-officio procedure) will remain in charge of the case. Re-allocation of a case would only be envisaged at the outset of a procedure where either this authority considered that it was not well placed to act or where other authorities also considered themselves well placed to act. 1 A copy of the complaint can be transmitted for the NCA to assess whether they want to take up the case. See further the ECN Module and the Notice on handling of complaints.

More about Re-allocation of case to a NCA

Where re-allocation is found to be appropriate for an effective protection of competition and of the EU interest, network members will endeavour to re-allocate cases to a single well placed competition authority as often as possible. In any event, re-allocation should be a quick and efficient process and not hold up ongoing investigations.

More about the Subject

The Network Notice notes that an authority can be considered to be well placed to deal with a case if the following three cumulative conditions are met:

Other Considerations

the agreement or practice has substantial direct actual or foreseeable effects on competition within its territory, is implemented within or originates from its territory;


the authority is able to effectively bring to an end the entire infringement, i.e. it can adopt a ceaseand- desist order the effect of which will be sufficient to bring an end to the infringement and it can, where appropriate, sanction the infringement adequately; it can gather, possibly with the assistance of other authorities, the evidence required to prove the infringement. 2


The above criteria indicate that a material link between the infringement and the territory of a Member State must exist in order for that Member State's competition authority to be considered well placed. It can be expected that in most cases the authorities of those Member States where competition is substantially affected by an infringement will be well placed provided they are capable of effectively bringing the infringement to an end through either single or parallel action unless the Commission is particularly well placed to act.

It follows that a single NCA is usually well placed to deal with agreements or practices that substantially affect competition mainly within its territory. Furthermore single action of an NCA might also be appropriate where, although more than one NCA can be regarded as well placed, the action of a single NCA is sufficient to bring the entire infringement to an end.


Parallel action by two or three NCAs may be appropriate where an agreement or practice has substantial effects on competition mainly in their respective territories and the action of only one NCA would not be sufficient to bring the entire infringement to an end and/or to sanction it adequately.


The authorities dealing with a case in parallel action will endeavour to coordinate their action to the extent possible. To that effect, they may find it useful to designate one of them as a lead authority and to delegate tasks to the lead authority such as for example the coordination of investigative measures, while each authority remains responsible for conducting its own proceedings.


The Commission is particularly well placed if one or several agreement(s) or practice(s), including networks of similar agreements or practices, have effects on competition in more than three Member States (cross-border markets covering more than three Member States or several national markets).


The Court has held that even if the national authorities and courts are well placed to address the possible infringements complained of that consideration alone is insufficient to support a final conclusion that there is no sufficient Community interest. Action at European Union level could on occasion be more effective than various actions at national level. 3

Moreover, the Commission is particularly well placed to deal with a case if it is closely linked to other EU provisions which may be exclusively or more effectively applied by the Commission, if the EU interest requires the adoption of a Commission decision to develop EU competition policy when a new competition issue arises or to ensure effective enforcement 4 .


See Also


  • Information about Re-allocation of case to a NCA in the Antitrust Manual of Procedures for the application of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU (Internal DG Competition)


[Note 1]
See Commission Notice on cooperation within the Network of Competition Authorities (OJ C 101, 27.4.2004, p. 43) (“Network Notice”), paragraphs 5-15.
[Note 2]
See Network Notice , paragraph 8.
[Note 3]
Case T-427/08 Confédération européenne des associations d'horlogers-réparateurs (CEAHR) v Commission, judgment of 15 December 2010, paragraph 176.
[Note 4]
See Network Notice, paragraph 15.

Further Reading

  • Information about Re-allocation of case to a NCA in “An Introduction to EU Competition Law”, Moritz Lorenz (Cambridge University Press)

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