Never the most celebrated actor on the stage of English litigation, the French Blocking Statute nonetheless has its fans, particularly among competition lawyers. The recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Secretary of State for Health v Servier Laboratories  EWCA Civ 1234, however, may prove the Statute’s final curtain call in this jurisdiction.
Law No. 68-678 of the French Republic, to give the Statute its proper name, was originally enacted in response to a United States antitrust investigation into French shipping companies. Continue reading
‘“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here”.’
Where an appeal to the Tribunal under section 192 of the Communications Act 2003 gives rise to specified ‘price control matters’, the CAT must hive them off for determination by the Competition Commission: see section 193(1) and SI 2004/2068. The CAT is then bound by section 193(6) to follow the Commission’s determination, except ‘to the extent that the Tribunal decides, applying the principles applicable on an application for judicial review, that the determination of the Competition Commission is a determination that would fall to be set aside on such an application’: section 193(7).
This “quasi-judicial review within an appeal” jurisdiction under section 193(7) is tribute in itself to the complexity of the legal imagination. In British Telecommunications Plc v Office of Communications  CAT 30 the Tribunal takes us deeper still into wonderland with this question: can the Competition Commission, when it participates in a section 193(7) review before the Tribunal, recover its costs of so doing? Continue reading