AKZO Procedure

European Competition Law term. As the result of a ruling by the European Court of Justice (AKZO Chemie BV and AKZO Chemie U.K. Ltd v. Commission, [1986] E.C.R. 1965), the European Commission was forced to implement a special set of procedures to be applied when a party sought access to information submitted to the Commission by a third party.

  • If the party that submitted the information has deemed it a business secret or otherwise confidential, the Commission must first write to that party if the Commission intends to disclose it, affording the submitter an opportunity to object.
  • If the submitter of the information continues to object, and
  • the Commission is still determined to disclose, it must prepare a “reasoned explanation” of its decision, i.e., a statement that explains why the information is not legally protected from disclosure.
  • This reasoned decision may then be challenged to the European Court of First Instance, prior to such disclosure.