The European Court of Human Rights recently acknowledged a complaint by Delta Bakery and confirmed that the Czech Competition Authority (Úřad pro ochranu hospodářské soutěže, or CCA) violated article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights when entering the Delta Bakery premises without first obtaining a warrant.

The legality of the dawn raid, i.e. an unannounced inspection by the CCA of the business premises of Delta Bakery held on 19 November 2003, was the subject of a long-running dispute. The CCA performed the dawn raid within administrative proceedings initiated for alleged violations of competition rules by Delta Bakery and other bakeries. During the dawn raid, Delta Bakery refused to co-operate and was penalised with a procedural fine.

At the end of the administrative proceedings, all parties to the proceedings were fined. Delta Bakery appealed against the core decision to the chairman of the CCA, who upheld the decision. Subsequent appeals of Delta Bakery to the Regional Court and the Supreme Administrative Court were also dismissed. Even the Czech Constitutional Court confirmed the right of the CCA to enter business premises without obtaining a prior judicial warrant, i.e. only on legal authorisation…

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