Claimants in private damages actions following on from European Commission cartel decisions are often faced with a choice of jurisdiction in which to pursue their claims. However, seising jurisdiction in the national court of a desired Member State can require the claim to be pursued against an anchor defendant that is not an addressee of a Commission decision. This may, in the English courts, give rise to various disputes as to the role of that non-addressee defendant in the cartel and, accordingly, whether a claim can in fact be sustained as against that defendant. The Court of Justice's recent judgment in Vantaan Kaupunki v Skanska Industrial Solutions potentially relieves claimants from the burden of having to establish that the non-addressee defendant participated in, or implemented, the cartel in order to sustain a claim against it, by holding that it is entire undertakings that are liable for compensation in private damages actions. The Skanska judgment harmonizes the scope of liability under the public and private spheres of EU competition law enforcement and has potentially significant ramifications for competition litigation in the English courts.
Edward Coulson and Andrew Leitch
The recent increased focus of the European Commission on cartels formed and operated outside of the EU, which nonetheless harm competition in the internal market, has led to a corresponding increase in private damages actions being pursued in the English courts for losses occasioned by those cartels. Those private damages actions have tested both the jurisdictional reach of the English courts and the territorial scope of EU competition law. This article discusses the successful appeal by iiyama against the partial strike out of its private damages claims in the English High Court for losses occasioned by the CRT Glass and LCD cartels. The impact of the Court of Justice's decision in Intel, which was handed down between iiyama's damages actions being struck out and its successful appeal, is also discussed, together with the High Court's subsequent decision in Unlockd, which followed Intel and iiyama. Taken together, these cases provide significant increased clarity on the issues of jurisdiction and applicable law in private damages actions before the English courts.