On 28 February 2018, the Secretariat of the Swiss Competition Commission (Secretariat) published for the first time a note on the main features of amicable settlements (EVR) and an overview over the respective procedure based on Article 29 of the Swiss Cartel Act. The note also contains a template of the framework conditions for EVR negotiations and a template of an EVR agreement to be concluded with the Secretariat.

Amicable settlements are an important feature of the Swiss cartel enforcement regime. Such settlements in general reduce the duration of the investigations and the length and details of the decisions’ reasoning. Importantly, the conclusion of an EVR is considered as a mitigating factor and can cut down a fine to be imposed by up to 20%, depending on the stage of the procedure. Such reduction can come on top to a fine reduction granted for a leniency application (not in case of full immunity, obviously). To become binding, however, EVRs must compellingly be approved by the Swiss Competition Commission.

The note is to be welcomed. It remains to be seen, however, whether all of its aspects will stand up to scrutiny by the appellate courts, such as for example the procedure for (sequential) hybrid settlements or the waiver of appeal. Apart from the notes in the Swiss official languages (German, French, Italian) there is no official English translation.