Abuse of a dominant position: the need for competition law in the

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Students will individually write an essay on one of the following topics of competition law:

1.         Cartel law (article 101 TFEU[1]); or

2.         Abuse of a dominant position (article 102 TFEU); or

3.         Merger control (Regulation 139/2004); or

4.         State aid (article 107 TFEU).




Students focus on 1 of the 4 possible topics of European competition law by incorporating different source material into a short research essay. The essay should demonstrate a deep understanding of the topic and of its effect on businesses.

Students have to critically analyse quality source material as described below.

Word count: approximately 1500 words


Quality source material:

Students must at least use the following types of sources:

1.         Legislation: explain at least the legislation mentioned above which is relevant to the chosen topic[2]. Also explain – if applicable – any other legislation which is relevant to the topic and to the chosen case(s); and


2.         One case, either handled and decided solely by the European Commission[3] or also by the Court of Justice of the European Union[4]. Students are not allowed to use a case which is included in the ‘Reader Competition Law’ as published on Blackboard; and


3.         One newspaper article from high quality English sources (such as the New York Times, Financial Times, Guardian, etc.). NB: this article should cover a different situation than your case.


Other rules:

No more than 5% of the essay may consist of quoted material. Harvard referencing must be used.

NB: Students are advised to start their research immediately due to the short duration of the course.

Extra instructions:


Please find below extra instructions regarding (1) the structure of the essay; (2) the main body of the essay; and (3) the assessment matrix.


1.        Structure of the essay


The student will be expected to present his/her ideas and findings in a logical and structured manner. The following structure of the essay will contribute to that:


v   Cover page

v   Introduction

v   Main Body

v   Conclusion

v   Reference list


2.        Main body of the essay


The student can critically analyse the prescribed quality source material by taking into account the following aspects and questions.


1.         Legislation


Explain the appropriate legislation by answering the following questions:


a.    What does the legislation regulate?

b.    What general rule can be derived from the legislation?

c.    Is an exception to this rule provided as well?

d.    What terminology used needs to be explained in order to understand the legislation?

e.    What is market definition and why is it important to your topic of competition law?


2.         Case


Explain the appropriate case by answering the following questions:


a.    Which parties are involved?

b.    Which party is an undertaking?

c.    Which party is an institution of the European Union?

d.    What are the relevant facts of the case?

e.    What are the legal issues of the case?

f.     What is the relevant product market?

g.    What is the relevant geographic market?

h.    What is the decision in this case?

i.      Is the decision made in accordance with the relevant legislation?

j.     Why is this case appropriate to use for this essay?


3.         Article


Explain the appropriate article by answering the following questions:


a.    What is the article about?

b.    What are the author’s comments and opinions?

c.    What is the relevant product market?

d.    What is the relevant geographic market?

e.    Is the situation described in the article in accordance with the relevant legislation? NB: you have to determine this based on the relevant legislation

f.     Why is this article appropriate to use for this essay?



[1] TFEU: Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

[2] Depending on the chosen topic, the students must explain either article 101 TFEU, or article 102 TFEU, or Regulation 139/2004, or article 107 TFEU.

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