At the administrative level,1 antitrust law and practice in Brazil is governed by Law No. 12,529/11 (Competition Law), which entered into force on 29 May 2012 and replaced Law No. 8,884/94. The Competition Law has consolidated the investigative, prosecutorial and adjudicative functions into one independent agency: the Administrative Council for Economic Defence (CADE). CADE's structure includes an Administrative Tribunal for Economic Defence (Tribunal) composed of six commissioners and a president, a Directorate-General for Competition (DG) and a Department of Economic Studies. The DG is the chief investigative body in matters related to anticompetitive practices. The Tribunal is responsible for adjudicating cases investigated by the DG: all decisions are subject to judicial review.2There are also two independent offices within CADE: CADE's Attorney General's Office, which represents CADE in court and may render opinions in all cases pending before CADE; and the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office, which may also render legal opinions in connection with all cases pending before CADE.
The first Brazilian competition law dates back to 1962, but it was only in the mid-1990s that the modern era of antitrust began in Brazil. Among other reforms, in 1994 Congress enacted Law No. 8,884, which governed Brazil's administrative antitrust law and policy until 2011. From 1994 to 2003, the Brazilian antitrust authorities focused primarily on merger review, and substantial resources were devoted to the review of competitively innocuous mergers. In 2003, the Brazilian antitrust authorities promoted a hierarchy of antitrust enforcement and ranked hard-core cartel prosecution as the top priority, making use of investigation tools such as dawn raids and leniency applications. A more recent development in Brazil's competition law enforcement is related to the increasing number of abuse of dominance cases, which is first and foremost a symptom of a system that is no longer in its infancy.
The basic framework for abuse of dominance in Brazil is set out in Article 36 of the Competition Law. CADE has not yet issued a regulation under the new Competition Law covering unilateral conduct, and has been resorting to legislation issued under the previous regime and precedents. The Anglo-American concept of binding judicial precedent (i.e., stare decisis) is virtually non-existent in Brazil, which means that CADE's commissioners are under no obligation to...