The goal of the current work is to delineate national judicial responses to Commission-issued competition soft law within two EU jurisdictions – the UK and the Netherlands. A comparative methodology is adopted and – in terms of theory – several hypotheses of possible judicial attitudes to soft law are established. In broad terms, it is ventured that courts can either recognize (agreement, disagreement, persuasion) or refuse to recognize (neglect, rejection) supranational soft law in their judicial discourse. While acknowledging that judicial refusal for recognition is a natural judicial response to legally non-binding instruments, the paper argues that competition soft law could and should become recognized by national courts of law because that would contribute positively to the enforcement system’s goals of consistency and the concomitant legal certainty and uniform application. The empirical picture that transpires, however, reveals a varied recognition landscape that could well pose challenges for consistent enforcement.
- soft law, EU competition law, antitrust, guideline, notice, communication, national court, national judiciary, case law, recognition