On 1 August 2023, the Italian Administrative Court of First Instance (TAR Lazio) submitted a request for a preliminary ruling to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) regarding the applicability of the 90-day time limit for the initiation of investigative proceedings, as provided by Article 14 of Law No. 689/1981, to proceedings of the Italian Competition Authority (ICA). In fact, unlike in the past, according to the most recent jurisprudential interpretation, the ICA should initiate investigative proceedings within the 90-day limitation period, starting from the moment when the ICA has knowledge of the essential elements of the violation, which could also occur from the first report of the antitrust violation. Underlying the referral, TAR Lazio pointed out inter alia the potential inconsistency between this provision and the "reasonable time" standard imposed by the ECJ for European Commission antitrust proceedings and a possible compromising of the ICA's autonomy.

Originally published by August - September, 2023

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