Conference: Application of State aid law in national courts
On July 4th, LEGSA held a conference on the application of State aid law in national courts.
The European rules on State aid are becoming ever more important in legal practice. At the same time, national judges in EU Member States are increasingly asked to apply these rules in national proceedings. A basic knowledge of State aid law and some of the challenges for national judges is thus an essential part of any judge’s toolkit. For this reason, experts in the field of State aid law from the Leiden Expert Group on State aid (Leiden University) have organized the conference 'Application of State aid law in national courts'.
The conference formed part of a European Commission-funded project, which is carried out by the Leiden Expert Group on State Aid (LEGSA) at Leiden University in close cooperation with the University of Salzburg and Riga Graduate School of Law. The project serves to train national judges in the application of European State aid law.
The conference has addressed the specific role played by national judges in the implementation of State aid law, as well as the possible legal problems that may arise in national legal proceedings. There have been keynote addresses by Conor Quigley QC (Serle Court), Prof. Arjen Meij (former Judge at the General Court of the European Union) and Dr. Martin Köhler (Judge at the Austrian Administrative Court in Vienna). There have been panel discussions by Kelyn Bacon (Brick Court Chambers), Humbert Drabbe (former Director, DG Competition, European Commission), Prof. Dr. Günter Herzig (University of Salzburg), Dr. Birgit Haslinger (Johannes Kepler University Linz), Thomas Jestaedt (Jones Day) and Ruud Winter (Judge and former president of the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal). The participants from different EU Member States have discussed best practices and have elaborated some first attempts to arrive at national law which is better tailored to State aid law.
Attention has been paid to the following topics:
Qualifying State aid. Getting the facts straight
Hard and soft law. Making sense of Commission guidance
The fluid relationship between national courts and the European Commission
Other hurdles for private enforcement of State aid