Presumption of Parental Liability Revisited


The European General Court found on 15 September 2011 that the European Commission can only rely on the presumption of liability of a parent company for a wholly owned subsidiary if it included an adequate statement of reasons in its decision explaining that it indeed relied on that presumption as the basis for the liability of the parent company. This judgement is part of a recent trend to somewhat restrict the apparently boundless liability of parent companies.

On 15 September 2011, the European General Court (GC) in Koninklijke Grolsch NV v Commission (Case T 234/07) annulled a European Commission decision which held a parent company liable for an antitrust infringement of a subsidiary. This annulment comes just months after the GC in Air Liquide v Commission (T-185/06) for the first time quashed a Commission decision with regard to the presumption of parent liability.

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