Tuesday 15 March 2022
The two Defendants (collectively BT) appeal paragraphs the order dated 19 October 2021 of the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), following their judgment dated 27 September 2021 whereby the CAT approved Mr Le Patourel, the Class Representative’s application for a collective proceedings order (CPO) under s47B of the Competition Act 1998 and authorised the continuation of collective proceedings against BT on an opt-out basis , and refused BT’s cross application for strike out and/or summary judgment.
The case concerns a claim that BT has abused its dominant position in two telecommunications (telecoms) markets by imposing unfair prices, contrary to s18 of the Competition Act 1998. Mr Le Patourel brings the claim as Class Representative in respect of approximately 2.4 million affected BT customers for aggregate damages estimated at 589 million pounds. Both markets concern the provision of residential landline telephone services known as Standalone Fixed Voice services.
BT challenge the judgment dated 27 September 2021 and order of 19 October 2021 insofar as they authorised the continuation of the collective proceedings on an opt-out rather than opt-in basis. The proposed appeal is said to raise questions of principle concerning the approach in law to the certification of collective proceedings as opt-in or opt-out under the regime introduced by the Consumer Act 2015, not yet considered at the appellate level.