High Court procedure for competition claims

The following Competition practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • High Court procedure for competition claims
  • Choice of venue—Chancery Division or Commercial Court?
  • Limitation and pre-action
  • Limitation
  • Different limitation rules for follow-on actions before the High Court and CAT
  • Pre-action conduct and procedures
  • Jurisdiction
  • Issuing a claim
  • Service of a claim
  • Service of documents on the CMA
  • More...

High Court procedure for competition claims

Choice of venue—Chancery Division or Commercial Court?

The High Court has jurisdiction to hear both follow-on competition claims and stand-alone actions. Under the Civil Procedure Rules Practice Direction on Competition Law (the 'PD Competition Law'), a claim will be assigned to the Competition List in the Chancery Division of the High Court, unless it comes within the scope of CPR rule 58.1 in which case it will be assigned to the Commercial Court of the Queen’s Bench Division.

Cases brought before the Chancery Division may benefit from judges who have also gained specialist competition experience from a combined role sitting in the Competition Appeal Tribunal. The Commercial Court is, however, sometimes favoured by claimants due to its business focussed approach and experience in dealing with multi-jurisdictional claims. There are also important differences between the Chancery Division and the Commercial Court in the procedural rules that litigants must follow. These are set out in the tables below.

Note—if appropriate, the High Court can move cases to the Competition Appeal Tribunal, either following an application from one of the parties or on its own initiative.

Limitation and pre-action

Limitation

It is important that any claim is brought within the time frames provided for under the Limitation Act 1980 (LA 1980). A failure to do so could enable a defendant to have a complete defence against a

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