Permission Denied in Carbon Case

06 May 2008

The Competition Appeal Tribunal (‘CAT’) has refused permission to bring claims for damages said to arise from the EC Commission’s decision finding an infringement of Article 81(1) EC in relation to electrical and mechanical carbon and graphite products against a number of proposed defendants, including Le Carbone Lorraine SA, while their appeals to the Court of First Instance against that decision are pending. The CAT held in an earlier judgment that the two year time limit for bringing a follow on claim for damages in the CAT does not begin to run until any appeals against that decision have been determined and that permission is required to bring a claim at any time before that date. The CAT distinguished the position of Le Carbone and others from the claims against Morgan Crucible plc, in respect of which it granted permission in an earlier judgment. Morgan has not appealed the Commission’s decision. The CAT’s decision to refuse permission means that it was not necessary for it to deal with various detailed arguments advanced by the proposed defendants regarding the Tribunal’s jurisdiction under the Brussels Regulation.

Daniel Beard was instructed on behalf of Le Carbone Lorraine by Ross & Co on the application for permission.

Ben Rayment was instructed by Sullivan & Cromwell LLP on behalf of Morgan Crucible plc.

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Daniel Beard QC
Ben Rayment