Illiberal Populism and Antitrust: Impact Scenarios


Illiberal Populism and Antitrust: Impact Scenarios

Room 920, Level 9
Melbourne Law School
185 Pelham Street


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T: +61383445284

It is widely accepted that competition law is directed at protecting consumer welfare. At the same time, however, competitive markets are conducive to liberal democratic processes based on equality of chances and economic freedom. At this Discussion Group Dr Maciej Bernatt from the University of Warsaw will present the findings from a study that addresses the question whether these fundamental characteristics of competition law may be at risk due to the rise of illiberal populism, a rise which can be observed in many countries on different continents. The study has examined changes in the competition law system related to the rise of populism, focusing on four areas: the institutional organization and functioning of competition agencies and courts; the practice of enforcement of competition law by competition agencies; the advocacy practice of competition agencies; and the functioning of regional systems of competition law (in particular the EU system). Drawing on socio-legal techniques, the research aims to produce insights in relation to questions regarding the relationship between competition law, democracy, and regional integration, including: To what extent is competition law interconnected with the principles of liberal democracy? Does the deconstruction of a legal system based on the rule of law, separation of powers, and checks and balances lead to negative effects for competition law systems? How far do these processes affect regional economic integration, of which competition law is an important element? Initial findings from the project are set out in a working paper, “Illiberal Populism: Competition Law At Risk” and a paper focused on rule of law crisis in Europe and its implications on the competition law system in the EU.


  • Dr Maciej Bernatt
    Dr Maciej Bernatt, Head of the Department of European Economic Law