The Stoynev & Partners team is pleased to announce that on 8.06.2023, the Supreme Administrative Court confirmed the decision of the Administrative Court – Sofia Region, which annulled the Decision No. 369 of 08.04.2021 of the CPC, issued against our trustee “SMART-SM” Ltd.

In its decision, the Supreme Administrative Court reject all arguments of the Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) for violations of the substantive and procedural law. Importantly, the court accepted, in a thorough and analytical manner, the arguments advocated by us that in its practice in the application of Article 15 of the CPC Act, the CPC fails to carry out relevant economic analysis for defining the market. The court also accepted out arguments that the Commission, in its decision adopted an unacceptably low standards of proof, through which it unlawfully seeks to reverse the burden of proof to the detriment of the undertakings under investigation. This Court’s decision further demonstrates the increasing importance of economic analysis in the defence of undertakings in competition law allegations in Bulgaria.

The decision is also key in another respect. For the first time, in a final judgment, the Supreme Administrative Court has stated that the Commission for Protection of Competition has misapplied the doctrine of tacit consent for anticompetitive agreements. In particular, the Supreme Administrative Court provided clear guidelines for the Competition Authority in regard to the application of the evidence standards as established by the Court of Justice of the European Union, in particular the Bayer judgement

For our team, this decision is the culmination of a battle that has lasted over 5 years. This was not only a battle for the defence of our client, but also for the proper application of competition law in Bulgaria.