IMS v Ofcom (admissibility) [2007] CAT 29

Competition Appeal Tribunal judgment (26 pages, PDF) finding that Ofcom's decision to abandon its Article 81 and Competition Act 1998 investigation into contracts between the BBC and Red Bee Media (having obtained some concessions on their duration) did not amount to a non-infringement decision capable of appeal to the Tribunal.

Independent Media Support's appeal of Ofcom's decision that Red Bee Media did not infringe competition law when concluding a contract with Channel 4 whilst under BBC ownership is not affected by this decision.

The Tribunal's take on the outcome is as follows:

56. The Tribunal recognises that the conclusion that the Channel 4 Decision can be appealed to the Tribunal and the Case Closure Decision cannot is unsatisfactory from the point of view of the complainant and for the regulatory system more generally. This may act as incentive to regulators to arrive at a case closure decision (without concluding whether or not there has been or still is an infringement) rather than a non-infringement decision given that, from the viewpoint of the regulator, the decision has the same outcome in terms of effect on the market. However, this situation is a result of the legislation which limits the Tribunal’s jurisdiction to certain kinds of decision only. It cannot be cured by the Tribunal seeking to extend its jurisdiction beyond the scope provided for in the legislation.

For further information or advice please contact Franck Latrémolière.

Filed under CAT, Media, Ofcom.

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