This seminar considered the potential for opt-out collective actions in competition cases and the new powers of the Competition Appeal Tribunal. In particular:
- How the changes will affect Scottish consumers and Scottish companies and how they will complement broader developments in consumer protection from anti-competitive practices
- Whether the new regime will result in significant growth in collective actions on behalf of consumers and whether the CAT will embrace and encourage opt-out claims
- How these actions will be organised, by whom, and the options for funding them
- What can we learn from other countries in the EU such as the Netherlands?
Our speakers were:
- Rameen Naylor-Ghobadian, barrister and legal lead on private actions reform at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
- Catriona Munro, Partner, Maclay Murray & Spens
- Kate Wellington, Senior In-House Lawyer at consumer champion Which?
- Marc Kuijper, BOEKEL
- James Blick, Director of TheJudge
This seminar considered how competition law can be utilised in overseas markets, in particular the use of competition law as a market access tool in regulated sectors or, in the case of developing markets, where there is an absence of regulation. This issue was considered from the perspective of both European markets (in particular France and Germany) and also in relation to markets further afield, with a particular focus on India.
Our guest speakers were:
- Frederic Dupas, head of competition law at BT Global Services.
- Gopal Jain, senior advocate.
- Gordon Moir, Shepherd & Wedderburn
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?