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The Court of Milan on the nature of the liability for abuse of economic dependence

The specialized section on commercial matters (sezione specializzata in materia di impresa) of the Court of Milan, with decision dated December 6, 2017 draws a line between the liability for abuse of dominant market position and the one for abuse of economic dependence.

In the interpretation of the Court, which is in line with the Italian Supreme Court case law, the first type of liability pertains to the “the rules directed to safeguard competition in relation to the market structure” while the second embodies a provision related to “the contractual relationship between the parties, whose goals do not concern the incidence on competition mechanisms”.

As underlined by many Authors, such qualification of the nature of the liability for abuse of economic dependence implies an “extension” of the contractual liability, with particular reference to cases in which the dependence arises out of events outside the control of the liable party.

Furthermore, the decision reaffirms that the prohibition of abuse of economic dependence applies to all types of agreements, notwithstanding the piece of Legislation it is contained into (Law June, 18 1998 n. 192, governing subcontracting).

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