Gecic Law Assists in Historic Ruling: Biggest Fine in Serbian Competition Law Annulled

A testament to human rights safeguards or show of a deeply flawed system?

Gecić Law successfully assisted EPS Distribution, the leading regional distribution operator, in obtaining a landmark judgement from the Administrative Court that annulled the RSD 330 million fine (cca. EUR 3 million) previously levied against this company by the Serbian watchdog. The court confirmed that the record fine was imposed in violation of the basic principles of national and EU competition law, as well as ECHR guaranteed human rights. After a long and tumultuous battle, which took years and a total of three judgements, EPS Distribution finally succeeded in repealing the Serbian competition authority’s decision in full, including the biggest fine ever imposed via Serbian competition enforcement, and secured the reimbursement of the total amount, plus cca. EUR 300,000 of statutory interest.

In particular, last seven months have been anything but boring in the Balkans competition circles (as noted by the preeminent competition blog, Chillin’Competition), but the latest landmark decision of the Administrative Court on the annulment of the largest fine ever issued by the national competition authority, certainly represents a watershed moment in Serbian antitrust enforcement and judicial review. As this drama reaches its epilogue, we analyze the chronological developments and far-reaching consequences this case can have for the future development of competition law in Serbia.

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