Ever since Johnson v Moreton  AC 37 (61E-G per Lord Hailsham: ‘we should have to adopt the carefree attitude of the Mikado…’), references to Gilbert and Sullivan have been gaining ground in the judgments of our higher Courts. When last year Arden LJ rejected the argument, advanced by the claimant victim of a cartel, that it suffices to establish the intention requirement for the tort of unlawful means conspiracy that the claimant forms part of a class of persons against whom a cartelist’s wrongful acts were targeted, she did so by reference to The Gondoliers:
‘it deprives the requirement of intent to injure of any substantial content. It is tantamount to saying it is sufficient that the conspirators must have intended to injure anyone who might suffer loss from their agreement. If I might say so, the submission is reminiscent of the circularity of words in the Gondoliers that “when everyone is somebody, then nobody is anybody”’.
(See W.H. Newson  EWCA Civ 1377 at , blogged here by Andrew Scott). Continue reading
In W.H. Newson Holding Limited & ors v IMI plc & ors  EWCA Civ 1377, the Court of Appeal has made some important new law regarding the scope of section 47A of the Competition Act 1998 and the tort of common law conspiracy.
The Court upheld Roth J’s decision (on which see Tom Richards’ blog) that it is in principle possible to advance in the CAT a follow on claim based on common law conspiracy. However, it held that because the claim followed on from a Commission Decision which did not contain a specific finding that the Defendant intended to injure the Claimant, the cause of action could not be made out without inviting the CAT to make additional findings – an invitation which the CAT was bound to decline in the light of Enron 1 and Enron 2. Continue reading
What kinds of “follow-on” claims may be brought in the CAT? ‘[A]ny claim for damages, or any other claim for a sum of money which a person who has suffered loss or damage as a result of the infringement of a relevant prohibition may make in civil proceedings brought in any part of the United Kingdom’, according to section 47A(1) of the Competition Act. A ‘relevant prohibition’ for this purpose is of course defined as any of the Chapter I and II prohibitions or the prohibitions in Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty.
The most obvious section 47A claim is a claim in tort for breach of statutory duty. But what other causes of action fall within the scope of the section?
That question has been considered judicially for the first time in W. H. Newson Holding Ltd & ors. v IMI plc & ors.  EWHC 3680 (Ch), a case arising out of the copper plumbing tubes cartel. Continue reading