The European Commission Notice on "access to the file" in competition law cases from 1997 has been updated with a view to increase transparency. The right of "access to the file" is a fundamental procedural safeguard which ensures the rights of defence for companies. The policy concerns merger and antitrust cases and covers all material the European Commission holds in relation to a specific investigation, regardless of whether it backs up or weakens it's case. The right is triggered when a business receives a Statement of Objections from the European Commission. The guideline clarifies which evidence the right of access applies to and that which is excluded. Principally all documents except for internal documents, business secrets and other confidential information are covered. The notice also contains rules granting a separate, less extensive right of access to complainants in antitrust cases and other interested parties in merger cases.

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