Dealing with confidential information in competition cases can be tricky. The CAT’s recent judgment in BMI Healthcare and others v Competition Commission  CAT 241 provides some help.
The core problem of confidentiality in the context of competition law is that many of the arguments deployed by litigants and regulators rely upon information which is highly commercially sensitive. Revealing one party’s business secrets to another – letting the cat out of the bag2 – not only risks aggravation to the cat’s owner but has the potential for serious economic harm. Continue reading
The big news from last week’s UK announcement on reforming private competition enforcement is that the government plans to introduce opt-out class actions for competition claims.
The proposals incorporate various “safeguards” designed to ensure that the perceived excesses of US class actions do not become a problem here. Some of the safeguards are really no more than statements of the obvious – no-one can be surprised that we will not have US-style triple damages, or that law firms won’t be able to bring a claim without even having a claimant. On the other hand, some safeguards – such as the prohibition on contingency fees – will surely serve to limit the usefulness of UK class actions.
Financing aside, the big unanswered question is how attractive claimants will find such class actions (or “collective actions”, as the government prefers to call them, emphasising the differences with the US). Continue reading