Confidentiality and understandability of EU Courts' Judgments: An impossible balance? (T-135/09)

Today's Judgment of the General Court in case T-135/09 Nexans v European Commission offers an example of a case where protection of confidential information makes it very difficult (if not completely impossible) to understand the reasoning followed by the GC to (partially) quash the appealed Decision by the European Commission (in this case, ordering an inspection in a competition law matter).

One of the grounds for appeal was that the European Commission did not have reasonable suspicions of an infringement of the competition rules on the part of the applicants  concerning certain of the products covered by the inspection decision; and, consequently, the decision ordering the inspection was faulty due to lack of a proper motivation. 

The General Court addresses this issue at paras 60 to 94 of the T-135/09 Judgement. However, the substantial suppression of confidential information in some parts of the case (for instance, paras 82 and 86 to 88 are suppressed almost entirely) makes it almost impossible to follow the GC's line of argument and leaves the readers scratching their heads and trying to make some sense out of the context provided by the rest of the Judgment--which may lead to improper conclusions, unfortunately.

In these cases, maybe it would be useful to obtain a less limited confidential version if at all possible, or at least a summary of the (general) reasons for the decision reached by the GC--which help practitioners and scholars make some sense of the case and be able to use it in the future, at least as a matter of principle. Otherwise, such important Judgments (which deal with important matters of due process rights, as in the case at hand) will remain impossible to understand and will not contribute to the development of sound practice and fair adjudication in competition law matters. Nonetheless, proper protection of confidential information and ensuring the understandability of case law may not always be attainable simultaneously...