On 11 March 2011, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) handed down a judgment on six of the appeals against the decision of the OFT in the construction bid-rigging case. Each of these six appeals related only to the penalty imposed by the OFT. The CAT has found, overall, that the total fines imposed by the OFT were excessive given the nature of the infringement (simple cover pricing not being as serious as bid rigging), the harm likely to have been caused and the general mitigating factors arising from the fact that cover pricing was a long-standing practice in the industry and was widely regarded as legitimate. The CAT found that the OFT erred in setting the starting point of the fines at 5% of turnover in the relevant market. In addition, the OFT erred in the relevant turnover that it took into account in calculating the starting point of the fines (this should have been for the business year prior to the infringement and not the decision). Further, the Minimum Deterrent Threshold used by the OFT was applied mechanistically and resulted in excessive and disproportionate fines. The CAT has, therefore, substantially reduced the total fines imposed on each of the appellants in these cases, from a combined total of just under £42 million to £4.4 million. Click here for more information