Devenish etc. v Vitamin cartellists [2007] EWHC 2394 (Ch)

High Court judgment (handed down on 19 October 2007) finding that neither exemplary (punitive) damages nor restitutionary damages were available to the claimants.

Exemplary damages were precluded by the fact that, both in EC law and in English law, any punishment that was warranted had already been effected through the European Commission's fines and could not be added to by the court in an action for damages. Reductions to penalties under the leniency scheme did not change this: the use of leniency to facilitate discovery of infringements was a legitimate factor to be taken into account when setting punishment, and this should not be undone by the court now.

Restitutionary damages (which were judged not to be materially different from compensatory damages in the case in front of the court, but could be different in other types of competition law infringement or if a passing-on defence is taken into account) were not generally available in tort cases (unless and until the House of Lords / UK Supreme Court decides otherwise).

For further information or advice please contact Franck Latrémolière.

Filed under Article 81, UK courts.

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