OFT has until 26 May to appeal Competition Appeal Tribunal fine reductions

The OFT will have until 26 May to appeal the decision of the Competition Appeal Tribunal to slash bid-rigging fines it levied against construction companies.

That date is one month from when the CAT will hand down the remaining three judgments on appeals made by AH Willis and Sons, GMI Construction and North Midland Construction, which are all due next Thursday morning.

The timeline:

  • Sep 2009: OFT imposes fines on 103 construction companies
  • Summer/Autumn 2010: 25 appeals lodged with the CAT
  • 11 March: Six appeals handed down by CAT to Kier and others sees fines cut by up to 94%
  • 22 March: Durkan has fine cut by 64% and wins partially appeal on liability
  • 24 March: Galliford Try and five others penalties reduced by 75%
  • 1 April: Fines reduced on construction recruiters in separate appeal
  • 15 April: Nine appeals handed down, Crest Nicholson, ISG Pearce, Quarmby and St. James Securities fail in liability appeal
  • 26 April: CAT to hand down judgments on three remaining construction companies
  • 1 May: Deadline for OFT to decide if will appeal recruiter judgment
  • 26 May: Deadline for OFT to decide if will appeal all 25 construction company judgments

While the CAT has already handed down 22 judgments, the OFT applied for an extension of its appeal period until the last remaining judgment had been handed down.

As in the earlier judgments, where the OFT was deemed to have imposed “excessive” fines, it is expected that the CAT will cut the penalties the OFT imposed on these firms substantially.

No indication is offered however on whether these three firms will be successful in their attempts to contest liability.

To date three other companies, Durkan, Crest Nicholson/ISG Pearce and Quarmby Construction/St James Securities Holdings, disputed liability and while only Durkan was partially successful in its appeal on this matter, it is thought that the CAT will look at the merits of each individual case.

An indication of whether the OFT will decide to appeal the CAT judgments or not is likely to be offered on 1 May.

That’s when the OFT must decide whether it wishes to appeal CAT fine reductions on six construction recruitment agencies that were found to have engaged in price fixing by the OFT.

More on the OFT fines