Court of Appeal hands down judgment in Trucks collective proceedings

25 Jul 2023

The Court of Appeal has today handed down judgment in various appeals against the CAT’s judgment of 8 June 2022 ([2022] CAT 25) in the Trucks collective proceedings.

In its judgment, the CAT granted an application for a collective proceedings order (CPO) by the Road Haulage Association (RHA), authorising it to act as the class representative on behalf of both new and used truck purchasers in claims against the five truck manufacturers who were the addressees of the Commission’s Settlement Decision in Case 39824 – Trucks. By the same judgment, the CAT dismissed an application for a CPO brought by UK Trucks Claim Limited (UKTC).

The key issue for the Court of Appeal was whether the CAT erred by authorising the RHA to act as the class representative for both new and used truck purchasers. The appellants (MAN, DAF and UKTC) argued that the inclusion of both sets of purchasers gave rise to a conflict of interest, because used truck purchasers would want to argue for a high level of resale pass-on, while new truck purchasers would want to minimise the extent to which any overcharge they faced was passed on by arguing for a low level of resale pass-on.

The Court of Appeal found errors in the CAT’s approach to the conflicts issue: contrary to the CAT’s judgment, the presence of both types of purchaser gave rise to an actual conflict, which needed to be addressed at the start of the proceedings, not left to a later stage. The Court therefore directed that the matter be remitted to the CAT for it to give directions to manage the conflict, including by way of separate representation and funding.

The Court of Appeal rejected UKTC’s other grounds of appeal, which argued that its application should have been preferred over that of the RHA, and that the CAT made errors in its assessment of the UKTC application. However, it acceded to UKTC’s request that its application be stayed pending final resolution of the conflict issue in the RHA application.

Finally, the Court of Appeal dismissed arguments by Daimler and Iveco that the CAT’s judgment should be upheld for the different reason that UKTC’s application had failed to satisfy the eligibility requirement in section 47B(5) of the Competition Act 1998, as the matters raised fell within the Tribunal’s area of discretion and did not amount to errors of law.

Meredith Pickford KC and Nikolaus Grubeck (instructed by Travers Smith LLP) acted for DAF.

Paul Harris KC, Ben Rayment, Michael Armitage and Alexandra Littlewood (instructed by Macfarlanes LLP) acted for Daimler.