Compliance and Regulation Law bilingual Dictionnary

Essential Facility

by Marie-Anne Frison-Roche


The theory of essential facilities was invented in the United States (essential facilities) by the Supreme Court in a judgment of 1911, based on competition Law alone.

The Court ruled that the operator of a transport network has a natural monopoly since no other economic agent will duplicate it. Therefore, by this fact alone, it is in a dominant position and has the power to impose its prices on companies that have no other solution than to request from it access to means of transport. The Court considered that there was abuse of a dominant position, either because there was refusal of access, or because there was too high a price for this access, the sanction then not being damages but compensation in kind consisting in forcing the network operator to open up access to it at a fair price to its competitors.

Thus the theory of essential facilities, taken up in Community Law in 1978 and then in French Law, made it possible on the sole basis of competition Law and by judicial ingenuity to achieve the same ex post result as an ex ante regulation system. network industries.

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