Welsh Water (and Ofwat) v Corus [2006] EWHC 1183 (Ch)

Judgment (about 8 pages) by Mr Justice Hart sitting in the Chancery Division of the High Court refusing an application for summary judgment by Dwr Cymru Welsh Water against its customer Corus for unpaid bills. Corus' defence includes an allegation that the charges imposed by Welsh Water and approved by Ofwat are illegal under Article 82 and the Competition Act 1998.

The judge rejected Welsh Water's submission that Corus' only remedy would have been a claim for judicial review at the time of Ofwat's approval of the charges scheme, finding instead that it was permissible for Corus to allege the invalidity of the charges scheme in its defence to Welsh Water's money claim. The judgment does not address the substance of the competition law points, which will presumably go to a full court hearing unless the case is settled.

The case is connected with Albion Water v Ofwat (Shotton) currently in front of the Competition Appeal Tribunal as it involves a dispute over the costs of some of the same parts of Welsh Water's network.

October 2006: The CAT judgment in Albion Water v Ofwat (Shotton) quashed Ofwat's decision that Welsh Water had not abused its dominant position, finding that Ofwat did not have a valid basis for deciding that Welsh Water's charges for use of the distribution system in question were not excessive.

March 2007: The Court of Appeal has overturned part of Hart J's judgment that was in favour of Welsh Water. The competition law point above stands.

For further information or advice please contact Franck Latrémolière.

Filed under Article 82, Ofwat, UK courts, Water.

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