Recently, the Government’s BIS (department for Business, Innovation and Skills) announced proposed changes to the way in which competition litigation is dealt with in the UK.
One of the proposed amendments, in addition to the changes in how private actions are brought, would be to introduce changes to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (‘ADR’) process including the introduction of an “opt-out” collective settlement regime in the CAT.
The Government states in its Response that it would strongly encourage forms of ADR, albeit this would remain a voluntary process for the parties involved, and that the CAT’s settlement rules would become more binding, in light with those of the High Court.
A feature of this proposal which is likely to be unpopular with those defending these claims is that any unclaimed damages (for example, those damages recovered on behalf of claimants who have yet to come forward and claim their compensation) would not be returned to the paying party but instead would be paid to the Access to Justice Foundation, in the absence of an agreement between the parties to deviate from this. This suggests of course that the damages defendats would need to pay in the new “opt-out” collective actions regime (click here for story) would be based upon the group as a whole as opposed to those clients who have come forward to claim.
If you or your clients are interested in potential funding options for collective actions in the CAT, or in relation to competition litigation generally, please contact one of our specialist team below: