European Competition Law term. The Leniency Programme is set forth in the Notice on Immunity from Fines and Reduction of Fines in Cartel Cases, 2006 OJ C 298/17 (revised from the earlier 2002 notice.) Under the leniency programme, a member of a cartel who cooperates with the European authorities may benefit from a partial or total reduction of fines. Essentially, the leniency programme is an EU Competition Law plea bargaining system. The US Department of Justice has a similar system, which also, under the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act (2004), also limits the exposure of the “cooperating party,” i.e., the person or entity who informed the US Authorities of the cartel, which includes:
- reduction in civil liability for the cooperating party
- Single (not treble) damages (i.e., elimination of enhanced damages)
- Elimination of joint and several liability
Provided the cooperating party cooperates with the plaintiffs in any civil case and fully discloses the cartel.