Private competition actions and compensatory damages
Produced in partnership with Constantine Cannon LLP

The following Competition practice note produced in partnership with Constantine Cannon LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Private competition actions and compensatory damages
  • A recap: assessment of compensatory damages in English tort actions
  • Impact of the Damages Directive
  • A practical overview of the calculation of damages in competition actions
  • The limited experience of the English courts in quantifying damages in private competition actions
  • Cardiff Bus
  • Albion Water
  • Sainsbury’s
  • BritNed
  • Particular damages issues in the context of private competition actions
  • More...

Private competition actions and compensatory damages

Most private English competition actions are brought on a tortious basis, normally alleging the tort of breach of statutory duty and the focus below is on tortious actions.

However, it should be noted at the outset that there are some situations where damages can be claimed in English law in connection with anti-competitive behaviour based on a non-tortious cause of action. Thus for example, a contract may provide for payment of a liquidated sum where a counter-party is found guilty of a relevant breach of competition law. It is the case that some businesses do now include such provisions in their standard form contracts with suppliers. It is also of course possible to claim remedies other than compensatory damages, passing reference is made below to exemplary damages, such damages are not awarded in order to compensate the claimant, but in order to punish the defendant. Also, restitutionary damages which aim to strip away part or all of the gains made by the tort feasor from the tort, rather than to compensate the claimant for their loss. Such additional or alternative remedies are not covered below (see further, Damages in tort claims—recovery and assessment).

A recap: assessment of compensatory damages in English tort actions

The general rule, in the English law of torts (and indeed, contract), is that the court will award:

'that sum

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