Terry Brannigan v OFT [2007] CAT 23

Competition Appeal Tribunal judgment (50 pages, PDF) rejecting an appeal by a former local newspaper proprietor against an OFT decision that there was insufficient evidence of predatory abuse of a dominant position by its competitors Newsquest and Johnston Press.

The Tribunal rejected challenges to the OFT's analysis of dominance (including collective dominance), and held that the appellant had not shown that the OFT had been wrong to conclude that there was insufficient evidence of an infringement of competition law.

The Tribunal noted that it had no jurisdiction to challenge the OFT's decision that it did not have sufficient grounds to suspect an infringement (which underpinned the OFT's decision not to seek additional evidence). The challenge based on procedural issues also failed, because the Tribunal found that any OFT failure to consult had not affected the outcome.

The judgment concludes as follows:

134. The Tribunal unanimously dismisses Mr Brannigan's appeal. Mr Brannigan in his closing remarks at the hearing before us commented that, having regard to the money that the OFT has spent "basically just defending their right not to look into it", he wonders whether some of that money would have been better spent investigating his claims. Mr Brannigan has pursued his case from October 2004 to the present with courtesy as well as diligence and has done his best to cooperate with the OFT as regards the provision of information and lines of inquiry. We can understand his frustration that he is no further forward now than he was when his newspapers first went out of business.

For further information or advice please contact Franck Latrémolière.

Filed under Article 82, CAT, Media, OFT.

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