The scope of the powers of the Competition Appeal Tribunal has recently been the object of litigation in the Court of Appeal.

In May, we reported how the CAT had asserted the right to impose time limits on Ofcom when referring Floe Telecom's complaint back to the watchdog for further consideration.

Floe had complained that Vodafone had been abusing a dominant position, something which was rejected by the telecoms regulator.  When Floe appealed this to the CAT however, the CAT not only set aside Ofcom's decision and instructed the watchdog to look at the issues again but also made a direction that it should do so within five months.

Did the tribunal have the right to impose a timetable on Ofcom or any other regulator for that matter?   Ofcom argued that it did not and, together with the OFT, which intervened, it challenged this power in the Court of Appeal.

The court has now ruled that it is not the function of the Tribunal to supervise the regulators in this way and that the CAT overstepped its powers by imposing a time limit on Ofcom.

Provides background information on interim powers and restrictions. Also explains: the need for interim measures for completed mergers; the need for interim measures for anticipated mergers; the purpose of the standard interim undertakings template; and compliance and enforcement.

The Competition Commission has published a revised version of its guidance on the use of interim measures pending final determination of merger references.

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