Deutsche Bahn claims back on the rails

31 Jul 2012

The Court of Appeal has today handed down judgment in Deutsche Bahn AG and Ors v Morgan Crucible and Ors [2012] EWCA Civ 1055, concerning the time limits for the bringing of follow on claims in the  CAT.  The Court has allowed the appeal, with the result that time for the bringing of claims under section 47A of the Competition Act runs from the point at which there can be no further appeal against the infringement decision by any addressee of the Commission’s Decision.  The Court thus overturned the Tribunal’s ruling that time for bringing a claim against a particular addressee runs from the point at which that addressee can no longer appeal, on which approach claims against different addressees would have to be brought at different times, depending on whether the addressee appealed or not.

The Court accepted what it described as the “excellent submissions” of Jon Turner QC, who acted with Rob Williams for the Appellants.  In essence, the Court found that the relevant “decision”, referred to in section 47A, is the infringement decision generally, as it concerns all addressees, and not an individual decision concerning a particular party.  The Court also found that the proper interpretation of the time limit is a question of domestic rather than European law.

The judgment marks a return to an earlier ruling of a differently constituted Tribunal in the Emerson Electric litigation, which came to the same conclusion as the Court of Appeal.  The effect of the ruling is to overturn the striking out of the appellants’ claims against Morgan Crucible, so that the damages claims can proceed in the Tribunal.  The Court refused Morgan Crucible permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.