Unmeritorious cases

Unmeritorious cases

No action / non-processing letter (unmeritorious cases)

Non-processing letters: Case dealt with a NCA: When a national competition authority has received a parallel application in a case that is national in scope and is willing to pursue the case, a “non-processing” letter could be considered.

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No position taken: infringements covered by limitation period: Under the 2006 Leniency Notice the Commission can refrain from taking a position on whether or not to grant a conditional immunity, if it becomes apparent that the application concerns infringements covered by the five years limitation period under Article 25(1)(b) of Regulation 1/2003, as such applications would be devoid of purpose (point 36 of the Notice). In such cases, DG Competition can close the case with a letter stating that no position is taken on the application.

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No action letters: Only exceptionally a “no action” letter could be considered. The following situations could justify closing the case with a no-action letter:

Other Considerations

The application is manifestly lacking in substance and the applicant cannot provide further information or evidence. Such applications would often merely aim at testing if the authority would consider the matter to be a cartel or to be likely to raise any cartel investigation.


The application gives some information on an alleged cartel, but the information is noncorroborated and too vague to meet the point 8(a) criteria, but still detailed enough to give reasonable grounds for suspecting infringement of the competition rules by the undertaking concerned 1 .


Such a “no action” letter states that in the absence of further evidence, the Commission services do not currently intend to investigate the matter further but may change their stance at a later stage.


Non-eligibility letters: The case is closed with a non-eligibility letter where the conduct reported falls outside the Leniency Notice. A non-eligibility letter represents a de facto rejection of immunity and is distinct from a non-processing or no-action letter where immunity can still be considered in the event that the case is reopened.


See Also


  • Information about Unmeritorious cases in the Antitrust Manual of Procedures for the application of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU (Internal DG Competition)


[Note 1]
Following the judgment of the Court of Justice in Case C-94/00 Roquette Frères (ECR[2002] I-9011, paragraphs 61, 100) the Commission can carry out an investigation under Article 20(4) of Regulation 1/2003 if it is in possession of information and evidence providing reasonable grounds for suspecting infringement of the competition rules by the undertaking concerned.

Further Reading

  • Information about Unmeritorious cases in “An Introduction to EU Competition Law”, Moritz Lorenz (Cambridge University Press)

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