The disclosure of ‘relevant evidence’ includes documentation that a party may be required to create by compiling or classifying information, knowledge or data already in its possession
Under its judgment in Case C‑163/21, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) held that the disclosure of ‘relevant evidence’, within the meaning of EU law, includes documentation that a party may be required to create by compiling or classifying information, knowledge or data already in its possession.
The case emerged in the context of Directive 2014/104 on Damages Actions for Breach of EU Competition Law, following a 2016 EU Commission’s Decision over breach of Art 101 TFEU by 15 international truck manufacturers. The persons that had acquired trucks covered by that decision applied to the Commercial Court No 7, Barcelona for access to the evidence held by the manufacturers in order to quantify the artificial price increase resulting from those infringements, in particular by carrying out a comparison of recommended prices before, during and after the cartel period. The truck manufacturers argued that that disclosure of evidence was disproportionate in that it entailed creating new documents by compiling and processing information in other documents in their possession.
Following a preliminary ruling request, the CJEU held on 10 November 2022 that the disclosure of ‘relevant evidence’ also covers evidence that the party to whom the request to disclose evidence is addressed must create ex novo by compiling or classifying information, knowledge or data in its possession, subject to compliance with the obligation of the national courts to restrict the disclosure of evidence to that which is relevant, proportionate and necessary, taking into account the legitimate interests and fundamental rights of that party.