The company challenged as unfair its treatment by the respondent in imposing fines for anti-competive behaviour. The claimant was successor of the company who had misbehaved, but the claimant no longer operated in the area and had no employees from that era. It said that the respondent had resiled on a leniency agreement as to its treatment. The respondent had investigated systems of co-ordinated cover pricing in quotations for public works, and found that the volume of material was too large to process properly. It made a fast track offer intended to result in a reduced penalty.
Held: The OFT had acted unfairly in not acknowledging the difference in the position of the claimant Seeking ‘blind admissions to what are said to be infringements of the law is in breach of the principle of fairness.’ ‘Undertaking’ in competition law is an economic concept which is not equivalent to a traditional corporate entity. An undertaking may include a group of companies so long as that group of companies acts as a single economic unit.
‘the OFT must comply with the principle of equal treatment in all steps leading up to the imposition of a penalty’
 EWHC 1875 (Admin)
Competition Act 1998 (Office of Fair Trading’s Rules) Order 2004, Competition Act 1998
England and Wales
Cited – Akzo Nobel and Others v Commission (Competition) ECFI 12-Dec-2007
ECJ Competition Cartels in the vitamin products sector Choline chloride (Vitamin B4) Decision finding an infringement of Article 81 EC and Article 53 of the Agreement on the European Economic Area Attributability . .
Cited – Itochu v Commission (Competition) ECFI 30-Apr-2009
ECJ Competition Agreements, decisions and concerted practices – Market for video games consoles and games cartridges compatible with Nintendo games consoles – Decision finding an infringement of Article 81 EC – . .
Cited – Office of Communications and Another v Floe Telecom Ltd CA 15-Jun-2006
The Competition Appeal Tribunal had remitted a matter to the Office of Fair Trading and had set a time limit for the Commisioner to complete his investigation. The Office appealed.
Held: It was not within the CAT’s power, under either the . .
Cited – Automec SRL v Commission ECFI 18-Sep-1992
Europa Among the civil-law consequences which an infringement of the prohibition laid down in Article 85(1) of the Treaty may have, only one is expressly provided for in Article 85(2), namely the nullity of the . .
Cited – Regina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Doody and Others HL 25-Jun-1993
A mandatory lifer is to be permitted to suggest the period of actual sentence to be served. The Home Secretary must give reasons for refusing a lifer’s release. What fairness requires in any particular case is ‘essentially an intuitive judgment’, . .
Cited – Gallaher Group Ltd and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v The Competition and Markets Authority SC 16-May-2018
Extent and consequences of duties of ‘equal treatment’ or ‘fairness’, said to have been owed by the Office of Fair Trading to those subject to investigation under the Competition Act 1998. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 25 July 2021; Ref: scu.361461