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the second of a series of three posts looking at some of the areas where limitation has been challenged, in most cases, unsuccessfully – with the unsurprising overarching conclusion that the courts will not willingly grant indulgence when
it comes to limitation, we look at the case of Arcadia and deliberate concealment.
Arcadia Group Brands v Visa Inc  EWHC 3561 (Comm)
The claimants brought a claim for damages for breach of European and domestic competition law in relation to the defendants’ setting and imposition of multilateral interchange fees in the course of operating the Visa payment-card system. The claims
went back to practices dating from the late 1970s onwards and therefore, all but the more recent claims were potentially time-barred. The claimants sought suspension of the limitation period under LA 1980, s 32 on the grounds that the defendants had
deliberately concealed a number of facts relevant to their claims.
The Court of Appeal rejected this assertion. In so doing, it noted that LA 1980, s 32 is to be narrowly interpreted. It is concerned with the discovery of facts which are ‘essential for a claimant to prove in order to establish a prima facie
case’ and not those which would make the claimant’s case stronger.
If you want to rely on LA 1980, s 32 to suspend limitation, you will have to demonstrate that the ‘relevant’ acts which you assert were concealed are facts which are essential to the pleading of your claim and not just facts which will enhance
your prospects of success. Where your claim is based on matters around which there may well be other contemporaneous information, such as reports or findings of other trade bodies or tribunals, then do not ignore such information but ensure that this
is analysed to see if it gives you the facts required to plead your claim.
Part One: What is knowledge for the purpose of the Limitation Act (Jacobs)
Subscribers to LexisPSL Dispute Resolution can find further details: LA 1980, s 32(1)(b) suspension of limitation refused in competition law claims (Arcadia Group Brands v Visa Inc)
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