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The resolution confirms that the new fees guidelines comply with the requirements of Spanish Antitrust Act (Ley 15/2007 de Defensa de la Competencia “LDC”).

The Spanish Competition Authority (Comisión Nacional de la Competencia y los Mercados, “CNMC”) has issued a resolution confirming that the new fees guidelines submitted by the Barcelona Bar Association (Il-lustre Col-legi d’Advocats de Barcelona, “ICAB”) comply with the requirements of Spanish Antitrust Act (Ley 15/2007 de Defensa de la Competencia “LDC”).

It should be remembered that on March 8, 2018 ICAB was sanctioned by the competition authority – together with 8 other bar associations – for very serious infringements of Article LDC, consisting of price recommendations through the preparation, publication and dissemination of fees guidelines. Through this sanctioning proceeding, the CNMC focused on the pricing guidelines of various bar associations, as it understood that they involved price recommendations and concerted practices that infringed competition regulations.

Finally, after submitting a number of drafts to the regulatory authority, ICAB obtained the approval of the CNMC in the surveillance file that followed the sanctioning resolution. The main practical difficulty lay in the need to prepare the cost assessment reports in a transparent, objective and non-discriminatory manner on the basis of general guidance criteria and not on the basis of scales, guidelines or recommendations on professional fees.

The CNMC considers that the criteria submitted by the ICAB meet these requirements, since any numerical or quantitative reference, in the form of fees, percentages, coefficients, scales or reference values, is eliminated. In turn, following the doctrine of the Spanish Supreme Court, factors relating to the economic interest in dispute and the degree of work are weighted in a proportionate and equitable manner.

Este artículo está disponible en: Castellano Català

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