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The High Court today handed down judgment in a case brought by two German companies, Ordanduu and Optimus Mobile, against PhonepayPlus, the UK regulator for premium rate telephone services. Mr Justice Supperstone allowed the claim for judicial review and found that PhonepayPlus’ actions amounted to a sufficiently serious breach of EU law to justify an award of Francovich damages, transferring the claim to the Queen’s Bench Division for issues of causation and quantification to be determined.

The claim arose out of a series of “Emergency Procedure” investigations instigated by PhonepayPlus in July 2013 under paragraph 4.5 of its Code of Practice. The investigations followed identification by PhonepayPlus of a website using a form of malware to lock consumers’ internet browsers in an attempt to generate affiliate advertising revenue. The investigations resulted in financial and other sanctions being imposed on a number of companies, including the Claimants and several others located in other EU Member States. The Claimants challenged PhonepayPlus’ actions as being contrary to EU law and procedurally unfair.

The full judgment can be read here:

Dinah Rose QC and Gerry Facenna acted for the Claimants, Ordanduu GmbH and Optimus Mobile GmbH.