Judgment (Prematurity)

Neutral citation:

[2009] CAT 32


14 Dec 2009



Judgment of the Tribunal setting out its reasons for a ruling made in connection with an application by Sports Direct International plc ("Sports Direct") for review of a decision ("the Decision") of the Competition Commission ("CC") refusing to provide information redacted from certain working papers prepared during the CC's investigation into the completed acquisition by Sports Direct of 31 retail outlets from JJB Sports plc.

The CC, supported by the Office of Fair Trading, submitted that Sports Direct's application was premature given that the redactions appear in working papers and not in any provisional or final decision and, in any event, may not be relied upon in any such decision. The Tribunal ruled that Sports Direct's application was not premature. The Tribunal held that the constituent elements of section 120(1) of the Enterprise Act 2002 were satisfied on the facts of the instant case. The Tribunal was persuaded that Sports Direct was, at least potentially, adversely affected by the suggested findings of fact and conclusions contained in the working papers and that real injustice could have resulted from the CC’s decision to withhold material information and/or analysis supporting those findings.

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