Judgment (Venue and forum)

Neutral citation:

[2008] CAT 34


3 Dec 2008



Judgment of the Tribunal in respect of the venue for the substantive hearing of the application for review and the jurisdiction of the dispute. The Tribunal held that, given the truncated nature of the procedure and the urgency of reaching a decision prior to a proposed general meeting of the target company, HBOS Plc, it was necessary for logistical reasons for the hearing to take place where the Tribunal was based, i.e. in London. This decision was purely dependent upon the fact that in the Tribunal’s estimation there would not be time for a hearing and reach a decision if valuable time were taken up by travelling and setting up elsewhere.

In respect of the jurisdiction issue, the Tribunal held that, in light of the parties’ submissions and Rule 18 of the Tribunal Rules, the forum for the proceedings should be Scotland. The factors that were most persuasive in making the Tribunal select Scotland were as follows: the identity of the known applicants, all being residents in Scotland, the head of steam generated by the case related largely to Scotland in the sense that there had been considerable feeling on the part of various interests in Scotland that (a) the competition effects, including the lack of choice, will be felt particularly there in some respects; and (b) that a well known and well respected Scottish banking institution will be affected. Also of relevance was the fact that the undertakings concerned were all Scottish companies with their registered offices in Scotland.

This is an unofficial summary prepared by the Registry of the Competition Appeal Tribunal.