The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has found that the decision of the Competition Commission (CC), requiring BAA Limited (BAA) to divest three airports was affected by apparent bias. A member of the CC's investigation panel had a long standing relationship with Manchester Airport Group plc (MAG) through his role as advisor to the Greater Manchester Pension Fund (the Fund). MAG contributed evidence and submissions to the CC's investigation and was identified as a potential purchaser of airports and MAG and the Fund formed part of a consortium seeking to buy Gatwick Airport from BAA when it was put up for sale. The CAT concluded that a fair-minded and informed observer would conclude that the there was a real possibility of bias affecting the deliberation, thinking and outcome of the investigation. Although there was no evidence of any actual bias having affected the decision, the CAT upheld BAA's appeal. If the parties can not reach agreement on a suitable remedy, the CAT will hear further submissions before determining the appropriate relief.
To access the CAT's summary of its judgment click here.