Lindum Group, which did not appeal, hopes its fine could now be slashed by 80%
While 25 appeals were made, the majority of the 103 construction companies fined by the OFT chose not to launch a challenge. There were a variety of reasons for this.
In some cases companies had accepted a fast-track offer from the OFT for a reduction of their penalties if they accepted liability. Others simply didn’t think they had the resources to take on a giant like the OFT.
Both these reasons led £87m Lincolnshire-based Lindum Group, which was fined £496,017, to be paid in installments, not to take on the OFT.
However, the success of those who did appeal has emboldened David Chambers, Lindum’s chairman, whose lawyer has written to the OFT endorsing the tribunal’s findings.
“The fines were excessive and it wasn’t nearly as serious as they had suggested. The year it used [for calculating the fines] was ridiculous; it was 2007, which was the peak of the market,” he says. He is hoping that if the minimum threshold and the baseline year on which the OFT calculated the fines are altered then Lindum’s fine could be slashed to about £100,000.
Not that this would come without its cost. He says that he has already spent a “five-figure sum” to issue the letter to the OFT “in a market where everybody is struggling.”