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 streamline private damages actions. 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
The 10 July judgment in the American e-books case (US v Apple) addresses an important question not yet examined under European competition law: what determines the liability of the vertical participant (“B”) in an A-B-C information exchange? Continue reading
In a judgment handed down this afternoon, the Competition Appeal Tribunal largely upheld Tesco’s appeal against the OFT’s decision that it had participated in unlawful agreements relating to the price of cheese: see Tesco Stores Ltd v Office of Fair Trading  CAT 31.
Tesco’s victory is essentially on the facts: it persuaded the CAT that the OFT had misunderstood the evidence. The case is therefore yet another example of the facts of a case appearing very different when placed under forensic examination before the Competition Appeal Tribunal than they did when considered by the regulator (other recent examples are the tobacco litigation and the BSkyB case).
The OFT is plainly keen to strengthen the quality of its decisions. It has recently revised its Competition Act procedures guidance with precisely that goal in mind. It will therefore want to examine this latest judgment to see whether any further steps should be considered. Two points stand out. Continue reading