UK private competition actions

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

  • UK private competition actions
  • Reforms introduced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015
  • Reforms introduced by the EU Damages Directive
  • Follow-on v stand-alone claims
  • Choosing between follow-on and stand-alone
  • Choosing between the High Court and the CAT
  • The CAT
  • The High Court
  • Case transfers
  • Transitional provisions
  • More...

UK private competition actions

Companies or individuals who have suffered loss as a result of a breach of UK competition law can bring an action for damages in the UK against the party (or parties) that engaged in the anti-competitive behaviour.

A direct purchaser from, for example, a cartelist is clearly in a position to bring an action for damages. The position is less clear-cut for other purchasers in the supply chain, ie indirect purchasers. This may come down to whether the inflated price and the losses are passed on.

Damages actions can either be 'stand-alone' (ie where there is no infringement decision issued by a competition authority) or 'follow-on' (ie an action brought after and relying on an infringement decision issued by a competition authority).

Major changes to the regime were introduced in 2015 through the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (see Reforms introduced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 below). Further, albeit limited, changes were introduced by the EU Damages Directive which was implemented in the UK on 9 March 2017 (see Reforms introduced by the EU Damages Directive below).

Reforms introduced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015

A number of key changes to the UK damages action regime were introduced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and came into force on 1 October 2015. Two key changes to the jurisdiction of the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) were introduced:

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