DG COMP contacts with Clifford Chance

Competition did not have the information requested.

Dear Competition (COMP),

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as
developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting all documents,
including notes of minutes, emails and other correspondence,
relating to contacts between staff of DG COMP and staff of law
firm Clifford Chance, between January 2008 and February 2013.

Yours faithfully,

Rachel Tansey

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RECEIPT

To be sent in response to all requests for access to Commission documents

Dear Sir / Madam,

Thank you for your e-mail dated 06/02/2013. We hereby acknowledge receipt of your application for access to documents, which was registered on 06/02/2013 under reference number GestDem 2013/0561.

In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, your application will be handled within 15 working days. The time limit will expire on 27/02/2013. In case this time limit needs to be extended, you will be informed in due course.

Yours faithfully,

Kani Karava
European Commission
Competition DG - Document management and procedures
Rue de la loi, 200 B-1049 Brussels
Office : J-70 03/38
 +322/295.71.72
 +322/298.72.26
 [email address]

show quoted sections

Dear Ms Tansey,

 

We refer to your email of 6 February 2013, in which you submit a request
for access to all documents, including notes of minutes, emails and other
correspondence, relating to contacts  between staff of the
Directorate-General Competition and staff of law firm Clifford Chance,
between January 2008 and February 2013.

 

This is a very broadly formulated request, which would require extensive
searches on different locations. It is not really feasible to retrieve
documents on these criteria. In particular, for a significant part of the
period covered by your request, there is no central electronic archiving
of correspondence. Therefore, searches in paper files would be necessary,
which would be very labour-intensive and time consuming.

 

Furthermore, correspondence with law firms may cover very different
subjects and some of it is likely to be confidentiual in nature.

 

Consequently, we are unable to handle your request in its present form. We
would kindly ask you to make a more targeted request.

 

Yours sincerely,  

 

 

Corinne DUSSART-LEFRET

Head of Unit

Dear Competition (COMP),

In accordance with your request for a more targeted access to documents request - due to the labour-intensive and time consuming nature of dealing with my request as previously formulated - I will narrow the time period and scope of my request as follows.

I will reduce the time span of my request to one year, from February 2012 to February 2013. I trust that this will address the issue of having no central electronic archiving of correspondence, for a significant part of the period covered by my original request (Jan 2008-Feb 2013).

Furthermore, since Clifford Chance is a large, multinational law firm, with branches all over the world, I will reduce the scope of my request to cover only correspondence between staff of DG COMP and three particular branches of Clifford Chance: the Brussels, Paris and London offices of Clifford Chance.

Yours faithfully,

Rachel Tansey

Dear Mrs Tansey,

Following your request of 6 February narrowed down on 8 February, we have performed a search in our systems and identified 1220 documents exchanged with Clifford Chance between February 2012 and February 2013. All those documents are related to various Competition investigation files (Antitrust, Cartels, Mergers or State aid cases).

Member states or companies involved in Competition investigations are often represented by lawyers for the defence of their legal interests and Clifford Chance being a big law firm with a Competition department often appears in our files.

As you can imagine, looking into all those documents to check whether they could be disclosed under Regulation 1049/2001 would represent a huge administrative workload.

We are aware that you made a similar request to other DGs in the Commission and we wonder if exchanges between the DG Competition and a law firm representing its clients in competition procedures is what you are looking for.

Kind regards,

                               
Corinne Dussart-Lefret
Head of Unit
 

European Commission
DG COMP
Unit R1 Document management

J70 03/219
B-1049 Brussels/Belgium
+32 2 296 12 23

show quoted sections

Dear Competition (COMP),

I would like to reiterate, as per my original request of 6 February, that I seek all documents, including notes of minutes, emails and other correspondence, relating to contacts between staff of DG COMP and staff of law firm Clifford Chance, (clarified on 8 February to be the Brussels, Paris and London offices of Clifford Chance, between February 2012 to February 2013).

This does therefore – in principle - include all 1220 documents that you refer to in your response of 28 February, which relate to Competition investigation files.

However, processing this number of documents would be – as you pointed out – a huge administrative workload - not only for DG COMP, but also for myself.

Therefore I would narrow the scope of my interest in the 1220 documents identified by DG COMP, to cover only those documents that relate to revisions of, or proposals for new, EU laws or policies - during the same period (February 2012 – February 2013). Including but not limited to those covered by DG COMP public consultations open in that period, such as:

- Community Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and environmental support measures in the General Block Exemption Regulation
- Revision of the Guidelines on public funding to broadband networks
- The future of the guidelines on the application of competition rules on restrictive business practices to maritime transport services
- Revision of the rules for the assessment of licensing agreements for the transfer of technology under EU competition law

Yours faithfully,

Rachel Tansey

Competition

1 Attachment

 

Dear Mrs Tansey,

 

Following your request of 6 February narrowed down on 8 February and 5
March, we found that none of the 1220 documents mentioned in our e-mail
relates to revisions of, or proposals for new, EU laws or policies.

 

All the 1220 documents in our systems have been exchanged with Clifford
Chance as law firm representing companies or Member States during the
instruction of Competition cases in the field of Antitrust, Cartels,
Merger control or State aid.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

                               

Corinne Dussart-Lefret

Head of Unit

 

European Commission

DG COMP

Unit R1 Document management

 

MADO 12/03

B-1049 Brussels/Belgium

+32 2 296 12 23