Successful application by David Went at Competition Appeal Tribunal

July 25, 2022

After an application by David Went from Exchange Chambers (led by Charles Hollander QC), the Competition Appeal Tribunal has today handed down judgment certifying opt-out collective proceedings against Govia Thameslink Railway Limited (GTR) and its parent companies.

It is alleged that GTR is abusing its dominant position on the London-Brighton mainline by issuing train fares restricted to certain GTR train brands (e.g., Thameslink-only) in breach of the applicable regulatory regime and that train passengers have suffered loss by being required to pay higher prices to recover travel rights that should be afforded to them. The claim is valued at several hundred million pounds.

The class representative authorised by the Tribunal is Mr David Boyle who is a journalist, author, think-tank expert, and independent reviewer for government.  David Went (led by Charles Hollander QC) appeared on behalf of Mr Boyle, instructed by Maitland Walker LLP.

The Tribunal considered that the expert methodology advanced by the class representative was “clear and comprehensible”, thereby satisfying the relevant test at the certification stage. While the claims include businesses that pay for rail travel and therefore raise the potential for businesses having passed on some or all of any unlawful overcharge to their customers, the Tribunal considered that it is sufficient at the certification stage for the applicant to provide only a high-level methodology as to how the question of pass-on might be dealt with on a common basis across affected class members.

The Tribunal has provisionally suggested that the matter might be listed for trial prior to summer 2023, which is perhaps indicative of a desire on the part of the Tribunal to be driving collective proceedings forward after the earlier blockage in the regime while awaiting the Supreme Court’s judgment in the collective claim against MasterCard.