The High Court has upheld the Office of Fair Trading's (OFT) decision to close an investigation on prioritisation grounds. Following a complaint by Cityhook Limited (Cityhook), a sub-sea technology company in 2003, the OFT began investigating whether the UK Cable Protection Committee and/or its members were collectively boycotting Cityhook's submarine telecommunications cable landing technology and collectively setting the wayleave fees paid to landowners for cable space. The OFT had found evidence of possible anti-competitive behaviour. Nevertheless, the OFT closed the investigation in June 2006 on the basis that the issue did not fall within the scope of the OFT's enforcement priorities. This prioritisation criteria is designed to focus the OFT's attention on the most serious forms of abuse and in order to ensure the most efficient use of the OFT's finite resources. Cityhook took an initial appeal before the Competition Appeal Tribunal, which ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the case. Consequently, Cityhook appealed to the High Court for a judicial review of the OFT's decision. On 20 January 2009, the High Court stated that it was not unreasonable for the OFT to close the file. However, the judge held that the OFT should have transferred the case to the Office of Communications which has concurrent enforcement powers under the Competition Act 1998.
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