Peter Freeman QC, Chairman of the Competition Appeal Tribunal, joined us to discuss the CAT’s powers of review. The CAT can in some areas review on the merits and in others only on a JR basis. In 2014, the government considered restricting the current merits jurisdiction, although this proposal appeared to have been dropped by the time of the Triennial Review in September.
The availability of a full merits review has been criticised on the grounds that it is argued to allow parties to withhold information from the CMA or other authority, in the expectation that the CAT will give the matter a full hearing. On the other hand, is it not right and proper that a party upon whom a significant fine is imposed should have a full hearing, with cross examination of witnesses and all the disciplines that that brings along with it in terms of judicial decision-making?