A national capacity-building workshop was held in San Salvador from 4 to 5 November 2013.
The objective was to familiarize High-Court and Supreme Court judges with both the economics underpinning national competition laws and how this combines with the legal approach to enforcing competition policy, in order to promote enforcement of competition legislation in line with competition policy objectives in El Salvador.
Panel at the workshop
The theme of this second course was standard of roof and how to handle economic evidence in courts. The course was a closed meeting with no participation of outsiders, so judges were able to discuss on-going cases with UNCTAD experts.
Colombian Magistrate, Dr. Marco Antonio Velilla, participated as a resource person and, as COMPAL has been working with Colombian judges over the last years, he was able to share Colombia's experience of enforcing competition policy.
This important "Train-for Trainers" approach has been developed by COMPAL to enhance cooperation amongst Latin American judges.
The next course will be dedicated to Sanctions and Remedies and it is expected to take place in the first half of 2014.
Background on the training workshop
This course was part of UNCTAD's programme to strengthening institutional and capacity building in the area of competition and consumer law and policy in Latin American countries, present in the region since 2003.
The component dedicated to judges has been designed to address judicial review of competition cases and prevent flawed decisions that may infringe the rights of the litigators and third parties, as well as, negatively affect economic activity in a given country.
Judicial review is, in fact, a requirement of due process and the rule of law, which subjects executive and - to certain extent - even legislative action to control by the judiciary. It implies that decisions taken by public entities, government departments, sector regulators or administrative agencies can be challenged when the public entity has acted unlawfully. It reflects the separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary.
It should ne noted, however, that judicial review of competition cases also takes place in common law systems, where the initial decision is taken by a court instead of an administrative competition agency and therefore has a judicial nature.
Finally, it is worth noting that judicial review creates a strong performance incentive for competition authorities.
The threat of a flawed decision being challenged and eventually cancelled in court should incentivize a competition authority to diligently perform its work and base its decisions on sound economic and legal assessment. Ideally, this will lead to a higher quality of competition decisions over time, which will also help to build up a positive reputation of the competition authority's work
Participants at the workshop