CAT 28
17 Oct 2007
Judgment on the interpretation of Rule 31 of the Tribunal Rules 2003 in respect of the time limit for making a claim for damages under section 47A of the Competition Act 1998 by Emerson Electric Co and four other claimants (“Emerson Claimants”) against Morgan Crucible Company plc (“Morgan Crucible”) and several other proposed defendants.
This was the first judgment of the Tribunal concerning the time limit for making a claim for damages.
The Tribunal held that the plain construction of section 47A meant that time for the purposes of the two year limit in Rule 31 of the Tribunal Rules had not yet begun to run in this case. As long as any proceedings may be, or have been, instituted in the European Court (“EC proceedings”), then a claim for damages under section 47A may only be brought with the permission of the Tribunal. Since EC proceedings had been instituted in this case, the Tribunal held that the Emerson Claimants required permission to commence proceedings before the Tribunal.
The Tribunal further considered that if, contrary to its judgment concerning Rule 31, time had begun to run for the purpose of making a claim for damages under section 47A, then the time limit for bringing such a claim could not be extended by virtue of a private agreement between the parties. The Tribunal also considered, however, that it would have jurisdiction to extend the time limit in Rule 31 pursuant to Rule 19(2)(i) of the Tribunal Rules.
In these circumstances, the Tribunal therefore concluded that it was necessary for it to consider whether or not to grant the Emerson Claimants permission under Rule 31(3) to bring their claim for damages against Morgan Crucible.
This is an unofficial summary prepared by the Registry of the Competition Appeal Tribunal.