ISEL Competition Law Essay Competition

We are delighted to announce the launch of the 2014 Competition Law Essay Competition. The aim of the Competition is to promote and encourage written work on the subject of competition law amongst younger lawyers.

The Competition is open to current undergraduate and postgraduate students, trainee solicitors and devil barristers in Ireland and their equivalents in other Member States of the European Union. The prize is €500 and the winning work will be eligible to be published in the Irish Journal of European Law.

The adjudicating panel consists of:

  • The Hon. Mr. Justice Aindrias Ó Caoimh, Court of the Justice of the European Union (Chairman);
  • Mr. Noel Travers, SC; and
  • Mr. Gerald FitzGerald, Member of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, 4 February 2015. Entrants should send an electronic copy (in PDF/ read-only format) of their cover letter and submission by e-mail to  Entrants may, but are not required to, submit works in hard-copy.  If submitting in hard-copy, works should be submitted to the following address:

ISEL Competition Law Essay Competition
c/o Maureen O’Neill
Mason Hayes & Curran
South Bank House
Barrow Street
Dublin 4

We would be most grateful if you could circulate this notice within your organisation.

Further details of the Competition, including the submission procedure, are set out in the Competition Rules.

EU law update: Ryanair’s German state aid ‘unlawful’

During September and October there have been some interesting decisions made by both the European Commission and the European Court of Justice. On October 15th, the Commission announced its decision that Ryanair has received unlawful state aid granted through Leipzig-Altenburg airport in Germany because the agreement between the parties is not capable of being profitable for the airport “even in the long run”. Ryanair has announced its intention to appeal the decisions, which require it to repay more than €1 million to the relevant EU member states. Ryanair did receive better news on September 18th, when the Court of Justice ruled that national laws preventing airlines from charging a price supplement for checked-in baggage are in breach of EU law. However, the Court noted that hand baggage cannot be subject to a price supplement if it meets reasonable requirements.

Bus services

Arrangements to compensate State-owned Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus for the operation of bus services across Ireland and the transport of schoolchildren have also come under review. On October 15th, the Commission concluded the current arrangements were implemented before EU state aid rules were applicable to this sector (ie the arrangements constitute “existing aid”). When existing aid is illegal, the Commission does not ask the member state to recover the aid granted but rather asks it to bring the measure to an end. Whilst the compensation arrangements for the bus services ceased in December 2009, the arrangements for the transportation of schoolchildren are still in place and must be brought into line with EU state aid rules.

On September 3rd, the European Court of Justice gave a preliminary ruling that provides guidance on the interpretation of “parody” as an exception to copyright law. Deckmyn v Vandersteen was a Belgian case in which the copyright in a comic book drawing was allegedly infringed by a calendar produced by the Flemish nationalist party. In answering a number of questions posed by the Belgian Court of Appeal, the Court of Justice held that “parody” is an EU law concept that must be interpreted uniformly and in accordance with its usual meaning in everyday language in all member states. The Court also noted that the two essential characteristics of parody are to evoke an existing work while being noticeably different from it and to constitute an expression of humour or mockery.

On October 9th, Minister for Children James Reilly told the Dáil that the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg, had informed him that “the Commission has made no negative comment” on Ireland’s proposal to be the first EU country to introduce plain cigarette packaging. Notification of the proposal (as a “technical standard”) to the European Commission was made last June. Ireland has received widespread support for the proposal from politicians, anti-smoking lobby groups and cancer charities, and there are signs that other EU member states (such as France) will soon follow suit. However, objections to the notification were submitted to the European Commission by the US Chamber of Commerce and nine European countries: Italy, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain. Despite the objections, it appears that the commission itself is favourable to the proposal.

This article by Kate Leahy and Victoria Balageurcommittee members of the Irish Society for European Law, was published in the Irish Times on Monday, 27 October 2014.

© 2014  – Click here to view this article on the Irish Times website