UK: Court rules on first ‘follow on’ antitrust damages claim

The first follow-on damages claim to reach judgment in a UK court has been handed down, with the ruling confirming that the owners of the British and Dutch electricity grids were overcharged by sellers of power cables previously found to have been operating a cartel.

However, the ruling in BritNed v ABB clarified that one member of the cartel, Swiss company ABB, did not purposefully use its position of power to overcharge. The €180m damages originally sought by the claimant were reduced to €13m.

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Mark Sansom, partner at magic circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, said the judgment should act as a warning that not every competition law breach leads to customers being deliberately overcharged, or provides good grounds for ’massive claims that are routinely asserted’. He added: ‘The judgment also provides useful guidance on the use of expert economic analysis in competition cases, including the importance of rooting economic evidence in the factual reality.’”

Source: Law Gazette

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