Following the European Commission’s decision in February 2018 to fine shipping companies EUR 395 million, consumer rights champion Mark McLaren has launched a class action in the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (the “Tribunal“).[1] The European Commission found that maritime car carriers fixed prices, rigged bids and allocated the market for roll-on, roll-off (“RoRo“) transport of vehicles.

Estimated to be worth £150 million, the follow-on class action is brought on behalf of all persons who purchased or financed new cars or light-medium weight commercial vehicles in the UK between 18 October 2006 and 6 September 2015 and were required to pay an unlawfully inflated delivery charge in respect of those vehicles as a result of the unlawful and anticompetitive conduct. The claim is brought against Nissan Motor Car Carrier Co. Ltd, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, Eukor Car Carriers Inc and Compañía Sudamericana de Vapores S.A.

A number of claims have already been commenced in the High Court in relation to the RoRo cartel.[2] While those claims are brought on behalf of car manufacturers, the class claim focusses on recovery for consumers. The pass-on of any overcharge will therefore be an important issue in the event that the claims are certified to proceed. The potential interplay between the various claims also makes it more likely that the High Court claims will be transferred to the Tribunal, following a recent trend in which significant numbers of competition cases are being transferred from the High Court.

The bringing of another opt-out class claim demonstrates the increasing popularity of and confidence in the Tribunal’s collective actions regime, notwithstanding the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the requirements for class certification pending the Supreme Court’s judgment in Merricks v MasterCard. What is clear however is that these claims are not going anywhere until that uncertainty is resolved. It may be that we will continue to see a flow of class claims being filed, particularly before the end of the Brexit Transition Period given the lack of clarity as to the status of Commission decisions in the UK after that date.


[1] Case 1339/7/7/20 – Mark McLaren Class Representative Limited v MOL (Europe Africa) Ltd and Others

[2] e.g. Daimler AG v. MOL (Europe Africa) Ltd and others

Author

Francesca Richmond is a partner in the Baker McKenzie Dispute Resolution team based in London. Francesca specializes in the litigation and investigation of high value commercial, antitrust and regulatory enforcement matters. She is noted for her expertise in ethics, governance and human rights in addition to litigation of antitrust, consumer and data privacy law. Francesca is Global Co-Lead for Competition Litigation and also sits on Baker McKenzie's EMEA Compliance & Investigations leadership team. Francesca is recognised by Legal 500 as a Next Generation partner, was nominated as "Best in Litigation" Euromoney LMG Europe Women in Business Law Awards 2019 and was nominated as "Compliance Lawyer of the Year" at the Women in Compliance Awards 2019.

Author

Jennifer is a Senior Associate in the Baker McKenzie Dispute Resolution team based in London. She is also a member of the firm's EU, Competition & Trade team. Jennifer advises clients in relation to general commercial disputes, competition claims, competition appeals and judicial review challenges. She is a member of the firm's Competition Litigation, Public Law and Business Crime Units.

Author

Lucy Shawdon is a trainee solicitor in the Baker McKenzie Dispute Resolution team based in London.