Private Litigation in England and Wales

Renato Nazzini, May 28, 2010

The United Kingdom has been at the forefront of developments of private enforcement of competition law. However, as I discussed in a previous article co-authored with Ali Nikpay,this jurisdiction has also often adopted a cautious approach to measures aimed at facilitating litigation in this field, for fear of fostering spurious claims and a litigation culture that would be socially harmful and unfair to defendants.This article updates that article as to the current status of private litigation in England and Wales.

There is no doubt that England and Wales is well placed to be a forum for effective resolution of competition law disputes. First, English courts have adopted an expansive approach to territorial jurisdiction. In Provimi Ltd v Aventis Animal Nutrition SA, the court dismissed applications for striking out and summary judgment in actions brought by a German company against English defendants where the claimant had had no contractual dealings whatsoever with the English companies. However, the English companies were part of the same corporate group and formed the same “undertaking” as the German companies, from which the claimant had purchased goods at the allegedly higher cartel price. Higher prices in Germany would not have been tenable if the cartel had not been implemented on a supra-national scale. Therefore, the conduct of the English defendants had contributed to causing a loss to the claimant.

Second, almost uniquely in Europe…

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