Superior Bargaining Power in Digital Networks

Superior Bargaining Power in Digital Networks

This is a past event

Delivered by Dr Claudio Lombardi, Assistant professor and Director of the Eurasian Centre for Law, Innovation, and Development (ECLID), KIMEP University

This seminar explores the contractual relations established by digital platforms and the possible unfair practices and competition law infringements that may ensue. It posits that digital platforms are able to create relational agreements which bypass the shortcomings of arm’s length transactions without leading to the creation of a firm, due to absence of control. Sometimes, the agreements they conclude with third parties are connected, thus forming a network. The structure of this network of agreements can also put the platform in a position of superior bargaining power vis-à-vis trading partners and consumers. Here, it is sometimes unclear the role of competition law in solving possible cases of economic dependence, abuse of contractual rights and other abuses of superior bargaining power. Moreover, contractual networks may also facilitate collusive behaviours that remain often unseen.

The EU law and some jurisdictions across the world have started creating ad-hoc laws to tackle these unfair trading practices, often empowering antitrust authorities with their enforcement. This paper examines the nature of these practices in light of the legal and economic theory and then analyses the current solutions and how they coordinate with general competition law. A number of recent cases, at national and EU level, will be used to support this analysis.

In this sense, this paper observes that the law should offer more effective protection through this new blend of unfair trading practices and traditional competition law instruments, remaining mindful of the limited scope and function of contract law in this context.


Dr Claudio Lombardi
Hosted by
University of Aberdeen, School of Law
Online Event

Online Event. No booking required. To get access link please contact Dr Irene Couzigou