Devereux Telecoms trio in major Competition Appeal Tribunal Judgment

Graham Read QC, Ben Lynch and Georgina Hirsch of Devereux all acted for BT (in a counsel team of 5) at the hearing of three separate appeals before the Competition Appeal Tribunal. The cases concerned many issues arising out of BT’s SMP cost orientation obligations in respect of certain Ethernet services. There were 9 major grounds of appeal concerning issues such as Ofcom’s jurisdiction, its decisions on breach of the cost orientation condition and remedy.

In particular, BT was successful in defeating an appeal by Sky and TalkTalk which sought to use Fully Allocated Costs (FAC) rather than Distributed Stand Alone Costs (DSAC) as the benchmark for cost orientation. The consequences for BT losing on this part of the appeal would potentially have run to many millions of pounds. Graham Read QC’s cross-examination was instrumental in destroying Sky’s and TalkTalk’s case on this issue (see e.g. paragraph 191 of the Judgment), so that Sky and TalkTalk were forced to try to abandon the evidence of their own expert.

The case was ground breaking in a number of areas.

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