Market law cases
1. Commencement of proceedings
A market law case is initiated at the Market Court by a written petition.
A case based on the Consumer Protection Act is initiated at the Market Court by a petition by the Consumer Ombudsman. A case to be considered on the grounds of the Unfair Business Practices Act or the Act on the Regulation of Contract Terms between Businesses is initiated by a petition by the undertaking who is affected by the action or whose activity it may damage. A petition of this kind can also be made by a registered association representing the interests of undertakings. In a case brought under the Securities Markets Act, a petition can be made by the Financial Supervision Authority or by a registered association representing the interests of investors.
The jurisdiction of the Market Court also covers cases to be considered on the basis of the Act on Credit Institutions, the Act on Mutual Funds, the Co-operatives Act, the Act on Action Contrary to Fair Method of Collection, the Insurance Companies Act and the Act on Insurance Associations, the Alcohol Act and the Tobacco Act.
3. Hearing of a petition at the Market Court
3.1 Preparation of a case
A case can be prepared in writing or orally. When preparing a case, the Market Court gives notice of the petition to the undertaking or other person or body against which the claim is made. The Market Court will also notify the Consumer Ombudsman of a petition in a case to be considered pursuant to the Unfair Business Practices Act.
The party concerned shall then set out in its response its comments on the claims made in the petition and the grounds thereof.
In a market law case, an oral main hearing is held. The petitioner and its opposing party are summoned to the hearing.
If the petitioner fails to attend the hearing, the case is dismissed without considering its merits. If the opposing party fails to attend, the case can be resolved despite its absence.
At the hearing, the petitioner first presents its claim and the grounds thereof. The defendant then presents its response and grounds. Following the exchange of pleadings, the Market Court takes evidence, i.e., looks at the evidence and hears witnesses. Finally, the parties give their closing statements.
4. Market Court ruling and appeal
The Market Court can by its ruling prohibit the continuation of the unfair practice. In response to a claim, the Market Court can also require an undertaking to undertake suitable rectifying measures if it is deemed necessary owing to evident distorting effects arising from the marketing. In order to render compliance with an injunction and rectifying measures more effective, the Market Court imposes a conditional fine unless it is unnecessary for some particular reason.
A party may appeal a Market Court ruling to the Supreme Court if the Supreme Court grants leave to appeal. The petition of appeal shall be delivered to the Market Court registry within sixty days of the issue of the ruling. Notwithstanding an appeal, the Market Court ruling shall be complied with unless the Supreme Court orders otherwise.
In market law cases, the parties are liable themselves for their legal costs. Cases under the Unfair Business Practices Act constitute an exception. Here, the unsuccessful party can be required to reimburse the opposing party's costs.