Competition matters Update - CAT decision deals blow to fast track cartel damages claims

22 Jun 2016
 
 
 
The Collyer Bristow LLP review of competition issues
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 June 2016
 
 
CAT decision deals blow to fast track cartel damages claims
 
On 17 June 2016, the Competition Appeal Tribunal published a judgment refusing permission for a claim against the polyurethane foam cartel to be tried on the fast track. The reasons given in the judgment set a high bar for any cartel damages action to be admitted to the fast track.

Breasley Pillows Ltd and others v Vita Cellular Foams (UK) Ltd and another

Last month, we reported here on the commencement of a damages claim against two members of the Vita group (“Vita”) who had participated in the polyurethane foam cartel. The claimants had applied for the claim to be designated to the fast track procedure (“FTP”).

We commented that, whilst it was the fourth claim to seek such designation, it was the first in a “traditional” antitrust damages action, but we queried whether the FTP was appropriate given the apparent size of the claim. Indeed, given the difficulty of quantifying damages in any cartel case, it has widely been envisaged that the FTP would instead be used primarily for injunctions to prevent anticompetitive conduct.

Last Friday, the CAT published the judgment of Mr Justice Roth which not only rejected the application for designation to the FTP but also indicated that the FTP would rarely be appropriate for any cartel damages action.

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Undertakings that infringe Competition law can be fined up to 10% of annual turnover, their directors can be disqualified and anticompetitive agreements can be unenforceable. Those who have suffered as a result of the infringement can claim compensation for the damages caused.

Our team specialises on the behavioural side of competition law.
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Stephen Critchley
Head of Competition Law
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