The Trouble with Economists
The Competition Appeal Tribunal’s recent decision in the trucks cartel claim raises some serious questions about expert economic evidence. In this post I want to flesh out some of the challenges and then float some suggestions for improvements. The context Many readers will know the basic background. Back in 2016, the European Commission decided that… Continue reading
Illegal counterfactuals: the Court of Appeal shuts the back door
Suppose a defendant to a competition claim runs a defence that, in the counterfactual world in which no anticompetitive conduct occurred, pricing would have been no different; and that the claimant replies, “maybe so, but only because you were at the same time operating some independent anti-competitive scheme, which must also be purged from the… Continue reading
Illegal counterfactuals: bringing in new claims by the backdoor?
It is fairly well-established in competition cases that the hypothetical counterfactual – which, for the purposes of causation, posits what the situation would have been absent any breach of competition law – cannot contain unlawful elements: see e.g. Albion Water Ltd v Dwr Cymru  CAT 6. In a normal case, C will claim damages,… Continue reading
Standalone claims in the CAT: bypassing the transitional rules
We have written before about the problems inherent in the transitional provisions of the new Consumer Rights Act 2015 (see Tom de la Mare QC’s blog here). A recent decision from Mr Justice Barling in the Mastercard litigation places a (small) sticking plaster over some of the difficulties. One problem is that the transitional provisions… Continue reading
Arcadia v Visa revisited: the Court of Appeal takes a strict approach to limitation
Competition damages claims can be notoriously complex. According to the Court of Appeal, however, that is no reason to free them from the ordinary English rules of limitation – however strict those rules might be. Unlike the large majority of European limitation rules, where time starts running from the date of the victim’s knowledge, the… Continue reading
“It’s too late baby, now it’s too late”: limitation, competition claims and knowledge
How much knowledge does a potential claimant need before time begins to run against a competition claim against a party alleged to have breached competition law? This was the key question addressed by Mr Justice Simon in the first case in which an English Court has had to consider the effect of s.32 of the… Continue reading
The Cost of Collusion
The Competition Bulletin is pleased to welcome a guest blog from Louise Freeman of King & Wood Mallesons LLP. Louise specialises in (among other things) complex competition litigation. In this blog, she addresses the implications of the recent CJEU decision in Case C‑557/12 Kone AG and others v ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG. Continue reading
The English law of causation and the passing-on defence
One of the big questions of English competition law is whether there is such a thing as a “passing-on defence” – – i.e. whether the damages suffered by a purchaser of a cartelized product are reduced or mitigated if he “passes on” some of the overcharge to his own customers. Two follow-on damages actions were… Continue reading
Non-Appealing Cartelists Beware
Tucked away at the back of last week’s Supreme Court decision on time-limits for follow-on claims is a very important development for private competition actions. The context is section 47A of the Competition Act 1998, a provision which has generated an extraordinary amount of litigation in view of the fact that it was intended to… Continue reading
Conspiracy, the CAT, and the Court of Appeal: “Here is a case unprecedented” (The Gondoliers, Act 2)
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’… Continue reading
Albion v Dwr Cymru: Incompetence and counterfactuals
The Competition Appeal Tribunal today delivered that rarest of beasts: a judgment awarding damages in a follow-on claim. After its decade-long fight, Albion Water has been awarded around £2 million for Dŵr Cymru’s abuse of dominant position in relation to the price it was prepared to charge Albion for the use of its water pipes.… Continue reading
Conspiracy in the CAT: the scope of section 47A
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… Continue reading
Another reason to avoid the CAT – Emerson in the Court of Appeal
The famous Victorian cricketer WG Grace is reputed once to have offered the following advice: “When you win the toss – bat. If you are in doubt, think about it, then bat. If you have very big doubts, consult a colleague – then bat.” The recent Emerson decision  EWCA Civ 1559 is another illustration… Continue reading
BCL No.2: The Supreme Court addresses time limits in follow-on claims
The White Paper which first proposed follow-on damages claims promised a “swift” and “streamlined” procedure. The idea was that when a regulator had made an infringement finding, there would be a simple way for victims to claim damages without having to prove the infringement afresh. In reality, however, many follow-on actions have been bogged down… Continue reading
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