The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has rejected arguments by two participants in a copper cartel that the General Court infringed community law and their fundamental right to a fair trial by failing to carry out an adequate review of the Commission’s decision.

The ECJ pointed out in its judgment (Cases C-272/09P & C-389/10P) that the fact that the Commission is given a margin of discretion in areas giving rise to complex economic assessment does not prevent the courts from reviewing the Commission’s interpretation of such areas. Consequently, the judicial review provided for under EU law is not contrary to the principles of effective judicial protection as set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights.  

The ECJ held that the review of legality is supplemented by the unlimited jurisdiction which empowers the courts to assess the evidence, annul the contested decision and to alter the amount of a fine. The ECJ held that the General Court fulfilled its obligation to carry out a full and unrestricted review of matters of both fact and law.