The High Court (Phillips J) has dismissed Sainsbury’s claim against Visa in the on-going Interchange Fee litigation. In a judgment which departed from important aspects of the reasoning adopted in earlier cases (in particular, the High Court’s Judgment in Asda Stores Ltd v MasterCard Inc and the CAT’s determination in Sainsbury’s v MasterCard), Phillips J concluded that the UK Multilateral Interchange Fees imposed by Visa did not constitute a restriction on competition by effect within the meaning of Article 101 (1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The Court accepted, however, that if the fees had constituted a restriction on competition within the ambit of Article 101 (1) it would not have been objectively justified for purposes of that article. This finding departs from the approach adopted by Popplewell J in the High Court’s earlier ASDA judgment.
Mark Brealey QC acted for Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd in the claim.
To read the judgment please click here.