The Organization of Proceedings
The Commission is an administrative authority which plays several different roles at the same time. Its fanctions are legislative, administrative, and, consequently, political. The Commission not only enforces competition law but also creates it, and, by so creating and applying it, develops competition policy.
The European Court has stated, with regard to the Commission's administrative function, that, in applying Community competition law, it is not to be regarded as a 'tribunal' within the meaning of Article 6 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 4 November 1950.2 This Article provides that every person is entitled to have his case fairly tried by an independent and impartial tribunal.3 The Commission is, on the contrary, an administrative body responsible for ensuring compliance with certain rules in the public interest of the Community. Like any administrative authority, the Commission undertakes preliminary inquiries, hears submissions of the parties and then adopts the decision, imposing fines if necessary.4 As the Court has held in competition cases, '[s]uch an investigation . . . does not constitute adversary proceedings between the companies concerned; it is a procedure commenced by the Commission, upon its own initiative or upon application [complaint], in fulfilment of its duty to ensure that the rules on competition are observed.'5____________________