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The Competition Appeal Tribunal has clarified the limitation rules applicable to follow-on actions brought in the Tribunal during the period of transition to the new legislative regime established by the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

The issue arose in damages claims following on from the decision of the EU Commission in December 2007 finding that the MasterCard payment organisation and the legal entities representing it infringed art 81 of the EC Treaty (now, art 101 TFEU) by their arrangements concerning the “Intra-EEA fallback interchange fee”.  The Claimants claim damages over the period from 22 May 1992 up to 21 June 2008 and for any continuing effects thereafter.

Mastercard raised a limitation defence based on rule 31(4) of the CAT Rules 2003 and sought to strike out part of the claims on that basis. The Tribunal dismissed MasterCard’s application and rejected its asserted defence. In shortest summary, the Tribunal concluded that: (1) the particular rule relied upon by Mastercard has not been preserved by the CAT Rules 2015; (2) on its true interpretation, the rule would not have applied even if it had been preserved; and (3) even if MasterCard could have relied upon it, claims in respect of loss on domestic transactions would not be time-barred in any event.

The full judgment can be read online here.

Thomas de la Mare QC and Ajay Ratan acted for four of the Claimants. 

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