The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has granted a claim for damages by Achilles Information Limited (“Achilles”) against Network Rail Infrastructure Limited (“Network Rail”).  The Judgment is the CAT’s first damages award arising from a standalone claim since 2016, and follows the CAT’s earlier finding that Network Rail had breached Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of the Competition Act 1998 (the “Act”).

The Judgment is notable both as a claim in which liability was established through proceedings in the CAT, rather than by a competition authority rendering an infringement decision, and in the claim for damages reaching trial and judgment, rather than settling. It comes at a time when a number of complainants are choosing to bring standalone claims before the CAT and serves as a reminder that private enforcement can provide an effective means of redress for competition law disputes, encompassing not only damages but also issues of liability.

The Judgment also provides a helpful summary of the relevant legal principles for awarding damages in competition claims.  In particular, the Judgment reaffirms that difficulties in quantifying a claimant’s precise losses are unlikely to act as a bar to recovery, and in such instances the CAT will adopt a “broad brush” approach in order to calculate damages.

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