On 17 October 2011 the Commission adopted a package of measures comprising best practice guidelines on the conduct of antitrust proceedings (the Guidelines) and a revised Hearing Officer Mandate. The package also includes updated best practices for the submission of economic evidence and data collection.
The Commission has indicated that these measures will provide for greater communication between the Commission and the parties in antitrust investigations, whilst also increasing the transparency and fairness of competition proceedings. The Guidelines cover the procedural approach of the Commission in relation to investigations / proceedings into alleged infringement of Article 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The Guidelines also include detail on the investigation phase up to the issuance of the statement of objectives (SO), the procedure after the SO, rejection of complaints and detail on technical issues (such as the implementation, notification and publication of decisions).
As part of the package of measures introduced by the Commission, the Hearing Officer will have an enhanced role during the conduct of antitrust proceedings. The Commission has indicated that the revised mandate will strengthen and expand the role of the Hearing Officer, and includes measures such as the power of the Hearing Officer to intervene during the investigatory phase of antitrust and certain merger proceedings.