Contractor asked for extra time following huge reductions for other bid-rigging firms

Contractor RG Carter has been refused leave to lodge an appeal against the OFT’s decision against it for bid-rigging by the Competition  Appeal Tribunal.

RG Carter had attempted to lodge an appeal following the damning verdict from the tribunal against other contractors, including Kier and Galliford Try, who had originally appealed the fines, however it was outside deadline to lodge an appeal.

The 25 firms who originally appealed against the OFT’s fines received an average rebate on their fines of 84% after the tribunal said the OFT had levelled “excessive” fines. Had RG Carter been successful this could have opened the way for the 76 remaining contractors to lodge similar appeals.

RG Carter was fined £2.98m by the OFT for three infringements of competition law, one of 103 firms fined a total of £129.2m in September 2009. The contractor sought fresh legal advice following the Competition Appeal Tribunal verdicts, and requested a refund from the OFT, as well as formally applying to the Tribunal for an extension of the time limit on making an appeal.

However, Marcus Smith QC, acting for the tribunal, found that “The truth of the matter, in the present case, is that the applicants, having made an informed decision not to appeal, now regret that decision in the light of the outcomes of the appeals that were made by other addressees of the decision, and now seek to revisit that decision.”

Smith said the circumstances were not exceptional and therefore did not allow for an extension of the appeal time limit. He said: “The applicants’ application for an extension of time … is accordingly refused.”