On 28 March 2013, in a very unusual case, the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) awarded damages in a private claim relating to an abuse of dominance. The claim was based on the finding, also made by the CAT, that water company Dŵr Cymru had infringed the UK prohibition on abuse of dominance (it was therefore a “follow-on” claim). This earlier finding of the CAT was that the price at which Dŵr Cymru was prepared to offer third-party Albion Water a common carriage service to carry water through its pipes amounted to an abuse by Dŵr Cymru of its dominant position in that it (i) imposed on Albion a “margin squeeze” (not allowing a sufficient margin between the wholesale and Dŵr Cymru’s own retail price so as to allow Albion to make a profit on its retail services) and (ii) was anyway excessive and unfair.
Albion contended that it had suffered various types of loss and damage by reason of these abuses. The CAT agreed and awarded Albion total damages of around GBP1.9 million, plus interest. A claim for exemplary damages was dismissed.
This important judgment marks the second time that the CAT has awarded damages in a follow-on case and shows again that private competition law litigation in the UK continues to develop apace.