Investigation of Cases (II): Inspections1
General Considerations Concerning Inspections
The Commission's investigative powers under Article 11 of Regulation 17 (requests for information) are supplemented by the power to undertake inspections at the premises of undertakings. Under Article 14(1) of Regulation 17, 'in carrying out the duties assigned to it by Article 89 and by provisions adopted under Article 87 of the Treaty, the Commission may undertake all necessary investigations2 into undertakings and associations of undertakings.' It should be noted that, logically, by contrast with the position regarding requests for information, governments and the competent authorities of the Member States cannot be the subject of an inspection. However, there is nothing to prevent the Commission from undertaking inspections of public undertakings or those owned by the State.
The Commission's 'investigative power' has been judicially examined in a number of cases in which undertakings contended that Article 14 of Regulation 17 might be contrary to the general principles of Community law and, in particular, infringed the rights of the defence and the fundamental right to inviolability of the home.3 As regards rights of the defence, the Court, upholding the Commission's view in proceedings against its decisions to undertake inspections, seems to have recognized that the Community procedure safeguards them____________________