On 17 July 2020, the High Court handed down a ruling on disclosure issues arising in the standalone competition damages case claim brought by Phones 4U Ltd’s (P4U) administrators against mobile network operators (MNOs) EE, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Vodafone, and O2. The administrators claim that the MNOs had colluded, in breach of the Chapter I Prohibition and Article 101 TFEU, to force P4U into administration by refusing to renew their MNO contracts with P4U. The High Court examined P4U’s applications in relation to the disclosure of document “hold notices” and “hit” reports, the appointment of appropriate custodians for documentary searches, early disclosure, how unfiltered searches should be conducted, and access to the personal devices of individuals in the MNOs’ employment. The High Court ordered that the defendants should arrange for the disclosure of documents held by four key custodians on their personal devices.
On 20 July 2020, the High Court handed down a ruling refusing EE, Deutsche Telekom, and Orange’s security of costs application in the amount of 75% of their costs estimate, rather than 65%, which was the amount that P4U had agreed as security with the other defendants. The High Court did not consider the application justified purely on the basis that there was a chance P4U could ultimately be ordered to pay indemnity costs. On 24 July 2020, the High Court rejected an application for an order requiring P4U to provide further particulars of its claim against Deutsche Telekom within 42 days after disclosure, finding that the request was premature and inappropriate. The High Court suggested that P4U consider the position again following its review of the defendants’ disclosure.