On 3 June 2021, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) in case C-563/19 P Recylex v Commission dismissed Recylex’ appeal both to adjust its ranking in the leniency process and to receive partial immunity for parts of its participation in the Car Battery Recycling cartel. The judgment, on appeal against the judgment of the General Court (“GC”) of 23 May 2019, provides guidance to companies considering a leniency application when there is already an ongoing European Commission (“Commission”) investigation.
Applying for leniency enables cartel participants to obtain reduced or annulled fines. The 2006 Commission Notice on Immunity from fines and reduction of fines in cartel cases (“Leniency Notice”) sets out the key principles:
- the first company providing the Commission with sufficient evidence for an investigation will be granted full immunity;
- subsequent applicants can receive fine reductions of 30-50%, 20-30% or 20% depending on the timing of their submission; and
- companies can receive partial immunity for providing the Commission with details expanding the scope of the infringement.