Albion Water v Ofwat/Welsh Water (costs) [2007] CAT 1 & 2

Competition Appeal Tribunal judgment on costs (63 pages, PDF) in the Albion Water v Ofwat (Shotton) case. Judgment on costs (14 pages, PDF) was also given for the Albion Water v Ofwat (Bath House) case.

Ofwat and Welsh Water are jointly ordered to pay (in proportions to be agreed between them) Albion's allowable costs of £275,000 plus applicable VAT in the Shotton case. Ofwat is ordered to pay half of Albion's allowable costs in the Bath House case.

In both cases the costs are mainly in respect of Albion's barristers. Albion is allowed to recover the estimated loss of consultancy income attributable to staff time spent on solicitor-type work, but not the equivalent of expert witness fees for staff time spent on "information analysis".

The Tribunal rejected the allegation that the extended credit offered to Albion by its barristers in the Shotton case amounted to a disguised illegal contingency fee arrangement, and criticised Ofwat's legal advisers for challenging Albion's conduct of the case without active solicitors:

99 ... That the Treasury Solicitor should argue before the Competition Appeal Tribunal, on behalf of a public authority responsible for enforcing the 1998 Act, in favour of restrictions on freedom of choice in the manner in which legal services are obtained by small businesses, is a rich irony which we trust will not go unnoticed by those responsible for policy in this area.

For further information or advice please contact Franck Latrémolière.

Filed under Article 82, CAT, Ofwat, Water.

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