In the first case of its kind under the newly expanded UK regime for competition damages claims, on 22 December 2015, NCRQ Ltd applied to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) for an injunction restraining the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (“IOSH”) from continuing to abuse its dominant position. The application is made as part of a claim for damages under section 47A of the Competition Act 1998, as amended by the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
As stated in the CAT Notice of the claim for damages (see here), NCRQ Ltd is a company that has developed qualifications, training material and courses in health and safety, including a diploma in applied health and safety. IOSH is a health and safety membership organisation that was granted a Royal Charter in 2002 – part of its role is the accreditation of qualifications in the health and safety sector. NCRQ Ltd submitted an application to ISOH for the accreditation of its diploma qualification but this was rejected.
NCRQ Ltd’s claim is based on ISOH holding a dominant position in the market for the accreditation of qualifications in the health and safety sector. It alleges that ISOH’s failure and refusal to accredit NCRQ Ltd’s diploma qualification is an abuse of its dominant position in breach of the Chapter II prohibition and Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning on the European Union.
As described in previous posts (see here), the amendments introduced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 provide the CAT with the power to grant both interim and final injunctions for the first time. Additional new powers include the power to hear standalone competition actions as well as follow-on actions and the introduction of a “fast-track” procedure. Remarkably, this case contains a trio of firsts: the first standalone damages action brought in the CAT, the first application for a fast-track procedure and the first application for an interim injunction.
The interim injunction application will be heard on 12 and 13 January 2016 (see here).