No Administrative Duty of Equal Treatment
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. The respondent had entered negotiations with several parties to secure settlements of alleged breaches of competition law. The appellants complained that another company had been given settlement agreements better than theirs.
Held: The appeal was allowed. The company had not requested the particular term offered to the other party. Domestic administrative law does not recognise a distinct principle of equal treatment. Consistency is a generally desirable objective, but not an absolute rule. The OFT applied a consistent set of legal and policy criteria. A legitimate expectation of equal treatment had been created, but said nothing as to the legal consequences of such an expectation.
Lord Mance, Deputy President, Lord Sumption, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hodge, Lord Briggs
 UKSC 25,  WLR(D) 300, UKSC 2016/0185,  AC 96,  4 All ER 183,  5 CMLR 2,  2 WLR 1583,  Bus LR 1313
Bailii, WLRD, Bailii Summary, SC, SC Summary, SC Vid Simmary, SC Vid 2018 Mar 13 am, SC Vid 2018 Mar pm, SC Vid 2018 Mar 19 am
Competition Act 1998 2(1) 31
England and Wales
Appeal from – Gallaher Group Ltd and Another v Competition and Markets Authority CA 15-Jul-2016
Restriction or distortion of competition . .
Cited – Regina v Department of Education and Employment ex parte Begbie CA 20-Aug-1999
A statement made by a politician as to his intentions on a particular matter if elected could not create a legitimate expectation as regards the delivery of the promise after elected, even where the promise would directly affect individuals, and the . .
Cited – Commissioners of the European Communities v Assidoman Kraft Produncts Ab and Others ECJ 14-Sep-1999
Wood Pulp II
A decision of the Commission imposing penalties against several business concerns was challenged successfully by some of those penalised. Others who had not made the challenge applied to have the decision annulled for themselves also. The court said . .
Cited – The Office of Fair Trading v Somerfield Stores Ltd and Another CA 7-Apr-2014
The court was asked whether the Competition Appeal Tribunal was right to find that there were ‘exceptional circumstances’ justifying an extension of time for appealing a decision of the Appellant, the Office of Fair Trading. The court held that . .
Cited – Middlebrook Mushrooms Ltd, Regina (on the Application of) v Agricultural Wages Board of England and Wales Admn 18-Jun-2004
The company complained that whereas the generality of employers in agriculture were exempt from control under the minimum wage system, mushroom growers had not been exempted.
Held: The withdrawal of the exemption was irrational and . .
Cited – Crest Nicholson Plc v Office of Fair Trading Admn 24-Jul-2009
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 . .
Cited – Regina v Commissioners of Inland Revenue, ex parte Unilever plc CA 1996
The Revenue had refused to exercise a discretion in favour of the taxpayer in the same form it had granted for over twenty years. The taxpayer complained that this was unfair.
Held: The new approach to late applications, brought in without any . .
Cited – Regina v The National Lottery Commission ex parte Camelot Group Plc Admn 21-Sep-2000
The Commission had considered bids tendered in open competition to run The National Lottery. Neither of the two candidates who entered bids was considered to have satisfied all the criteria necessary to be given the relevant licence. The Commission . .
Cited – Kone Bv v European Commission ECJ 24-Oct-2013
ECJ Appeal – Competition – Agreements, decisions and concerted practices – Market for the installation and maintenance of elevators and escalators – Fines – Notice on immunity from fines and reduction of fines in . .
Cited – Bank Mellat v Her Majesty’s Treasury (No 2) SC 19-Jun-2013
The bank challenged measures taken by HM Treasury to restrict access to the United Kingdom’s financial markets by a major Iranian commercial bank, Bank Mellat, on the account of its alleged connection with Iran’s nuclear weapons and ballistic . .
Cited – O’Brien and others v Independent Assessor HL 14-Mar-2007
The claimants had been wrongly imprisoned for a murder they did not commit. The assessor had deducted from their compensation a sum to represent the living costs they would have incurred if living freely. They also appealed differences from a . .
Cited – Padfield v Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food HL 14-Feb-1968
Exercise of Ministerial Discretion
The Minister had power to direct an investigation in respect of any complaint as to the operation of any marketing scheme for agricultural produce. Milk producers complained about the price paid by the milk marketing board for their milk when . .
Cited – HTV Ltd v Price Commission CA 1976
Policies created by public bodies are a means of promoting consistency while not fettering the discretion of a public body. They allow others to know how the authority will respond to those who must deal with the authority. In maiing such policies: . .
Cited – Regina v Inland Revenue Commission ex parte Preston; In re Preston HL 1984
Duty of Fairness to taxpayer – Written Assurance
The applicant was assured by the Inland Revenue that it would not raise further inquiries on certain tax affairs if he agreed to forgo interest relief which he had claimed and to pay a certain sum in capital gains tax.
Held: Where the . .
Cited – Regina v North and East Devon Health Authority ex parte Coughlan and Secretary of State for Health Intervenor and Royal College of Nursing Intervenor CA 16-Jul-1999
Consultation to be Early and Real Listening
The claimant was severely disabled as a result of a road traffic accident. She and others were placed in an NHS home for long term disabled people and assured that this would be their home for life. Then the health authority decided that they were . .
Cited – The United Policyholders Group and Others v The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago PC 28-Jun-2016
(Trinidad and Tobago) The appellants, all residents of Trinidad and Tobago, held life policies issued by the Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO). Their claim arose out of the banking crisis in early 2009 when CLICO was in serious financial . .
Cited – Council of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service HL 22-Nov-1984
Exercise of Prerogative Power is Reviewable
The House considered an executive decision made pursuant to powers conferred by a prerogative order. The Minister had ordered employees at GCHQ not to be members of trades unions.
Held: The exercise of a prerogative power of a public nature . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 25 July 2021; Ref: scu.615570