Czech Railways, represented by Skils, has definitively succeeded in the case of a penalty of CZK 270 million for alleged abuse of a dominant position

Skils has successfully represented České dráhy in proceedings concerning a penalty imposed by the Office for the Protection of Competition for alleged abuse of a dominant position. České dráhy should have allegedly committed such an abuse on the market for the rail freight transport of substrates transported in large volumes in 2006 and 2007. This is a historic case in which České dráhy was originally fined in the amount of CZK 270 million in the first instance. However, after the subsequent takeover of legal representation of České dráhy by Skils, the original penalty was cancelled in the following court proceedings. Subsequently, the matter was reconsidered by the Office for the Protection of Competition, which assessed a significantly lower penalty in the amount of CZK 15,648,000.

Currently, the Supreme Administrative Court has also annulled the decision of the Office for the Protection of Competition regarding this penalty in its entirety, on the grounds that regardless of how České dráhy’s conduct should be assessed, any liability for a possible offence has in any case ceased to exist due to preclusion, i.e., with regard to the passage of time. The Supreme Administrative Court thus fully complied with České dráhy’s argumentation. The Supreme Administrative Court then subsequently did not deal with České dráhy’s further argumentation pointing to other illegalities in the Office’s decision, as it would have been superfluous. In the further course of the administrative proceedings, the Office is bound by the legal opinion of the Supreme Administrative Court. By this, successful representation of České dráhy by Skils in this matter, when it first achieved a significant reduction of the exceptionally high penalty in the amount of CZK hundreds of millions, and now finally accomplished the complete cancellation of the remaining financial penalty, should be completed. The amount of the penalty originally paid should now be returned to České dráhy.

This is another significant competition law success achieved by České dráhy, represented by Skils, after the administrative proceedings conducted by the European Commission regarding the alleged abuse of a dominant position on the Prague – Ostrava route was terminated in September 2022. In this proceedings, too, České dráhy was represented by Skils.