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13 Sedona Conf. J. 151 (2012)
The Kingdom Come: The Rise of Private Damages Actions in the United Kingdom

handle is hein.journals/sedona13 and id is 159 raw text is: 





Anthony Maton                 - Simon Latham'

Hausfeld & Co LLP

London, UK


         Whilst the United States' public policy has always used private enforcement
actions as a key weapon in the fight against cartels and monopolies, the EU has largely
relied on the heavy-handed axe of the public enforcement system, where the EU's
Competition  Commission   (Commission)  acts as judge, jury and executioner.2 In doing
so, the Commission  imposes fines which represent considerable financial punishment to
infringers' but offers no compensation to their victims; whilst private enforcement has been
encouraged, the EU  has taken no practical steps to make private enforcement a reality.

         With  claimants crying out for a means of recourse, the emergence of a refreshing
legal framework for private actions within the EU has seen several important cases brought
through  the courts. Within this framework, the UK - specifically England and Wales - is
increasingly becoming an attractive forum to hear competition (antitrust) disputes, with the
frontiers being pushed further in each case. This paper outlines the development of private
damages  actions in the UK and identifies the reasons why it has become such an attractive
jurisdiction for claimants in competition matters.
                          PRIVATE  ACTIONS BY CLAIMANTS

         Breaches of UK or EU  competition law, or both, give rise to claims for damages
(or other types of relief) in the English courts. Any party who has suffered a loss as a result
of an infringement of the following provisions therefore has an actionable claim for
damages  in either the High Court (Chancery Division or Commercial Court) or the
Competition  Appeal Tribunal (CAT).

1   Anthony Maton is a Partner & Simon Latham an Intern at Hausfeld & Co LLP.
2   In addition to the Commission, the UK also relies on the Office of Fair Trading, OFCOM (the regulator for the UK
    communications industries), OFGEM (the regulator for UK gas and electricity) and OFWAT (the regulator for UK water
    services) to tackle domestic infringements of competition law. These UK-specific regulatory authorities possess concurrent
    powers with the Commission in enforcing EU competition law.
3   On 21 February 2007, the Commission announced that it had imposed fines totalling C992 million on companies involved
    in the lift (elevator) and escalator cartel.
4   See Garden Cottage Foods Ltd v. Milk Marketing Board [1984] AC 130, which establishes this principle.



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