Graham Read QC successful in Competition Appeal Tribunal ruling

17 August 2010

Graham Read QC successfully persuaded the Competition Appeal Tribunal to reject Ofcom’s application that, as a matter of principle, only evidence which had previously been before the Regulator should be admissible before the Tribunal.  Ofcom was seeking a wide ranging ruling so that the evidence, which could be adduced in appeals to the Tribunal under s192-195 of the Communications Act 2003, was exclusively confined to the evidence that was considered by Ofcom when it reached its regulatory decision.  Ofcom’s argument would have made appeals to the Tribunal more akin to a judicial review than an appeal “on the merits”. Although Ofcom’s application was ostensibly confined to dispute determination under s185-190, as the Tribunal noted when dismissing Ofcom’s application, it would equally apply to other types of appeal. The full judgment, 2010 [CAT] 17, given on 8 July, may be found here.

Graham Read QC was acting for BT in BT’s appeal against the pricing regime which should apply to 080 freephone numbers in light of the fact that Mobile Network Operators charge significant sums for such calls.  The appeal is acting as a test case for other appeals.  In addition to Ofcom, BT’s appeal is opposed by Vodafone, Telefonica O2, Hutchison 3G, and the now joint company of T-Mobile and Orange. The full hearing takes place in January 2011.