In Dahabshiil Transfer Services Ltd v Barclays Bank PLC [2013] EWHC 3379 (Ch), the English High Court considered an interim injunction application to restrain the defendant bank from terminating, or requiring it to continue to provide, banking services to three money service business claimants.  Barclays decided to withdraw these services following the introduction of new government policies aimed at preventing money laundering.

There was no dispute that Barclays was contractually entitled to terminate these services.  Instead, the claimants contended that ceasing to provide such services constituted a breach of Barclays' dominant position in the relevant markets, contrary to EU and UK competition law.

The Court granted the interim injunction, with reference to well-established interim injunction principles, finding that:

  • Whether Barclays had a dominant position in the relevant markets was a triable issue
  • Similarly, whether a party could abuse their dominant position in the relevant market by reducing their participation was a question of law to be determined at trial.  Barclays defence of justification also needed to be fully examined at trial
  • Damages would not be an adequate remedy and the balance of convenience favoured granting interim relief.

While it is interesting that the Court was prepared to entertain these arguments in the context of an application for interim relief, ultimately a substantive decision will determine whether a money lender in Barclays' position is obliged to continue to provide lending services.

See Court decision here.