Court of Appeal rules that CAT has no power to extend deadline for bringing damages claims

The Court of Appeal has ruled against the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), and decided that the CAT has no power to extend the deadline for bringing a damages claim under the Competition Act 1998.

The claimants had brought a damages action against BASF for losses suffered on the basis of the cartel activity of BASF in relation to the sale of vitamins in 2001 (and in respect of which the Commission issued an infringement decision). The CAT considered the action was brought within the relevant time period on the basis that, according to the CAT, the relevant time to bring the claim did not commence until the appeal by BASF as to the fine imposed by the Commission had been determined.

The Court of Appeal overturned the CAT’s decision stating that the deadline for bringing a damages claim commences from the last date on which BASF could have appealed the actual infringement decision (and not the date on which the final penalty is determined). The Court of Appeal also ruled that there is no overriding principle of EU law which entitled the claimants to an extension of time and that the damages action was time-barred.

12 November 2010