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End of the line: second ever collective settlement approval order issued in Rail Fares proceedings


The Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) has approved the second ever collective settlement approval order in the Rail Fares opt-out proceedings (Gutmann v First MTR & ors).

The proposed settlement was agreed between the class representative, Justin Gutmann, and Stagecoach South Western Trains Ltd (“SSWT”), one of three original defendant groups to a claim concerning an alleged abuse of dominance in relation to the sale of boundary fares.  The trial of the abuse allegations, which will continue in relation to the remaining non-settling parties, is listed to be heard in June and July 2024.

The judgment gives important guidance for future cases on the information that parties to a proposed settlement in opt-out collective proceedings should expect to provide to the CAT.  It also sheds light on the CAT’s expectations relating to the arrangements for distribution of settlement sums.

The CAT’s judgment ([2024] CAT 32) is here.

The first collective settlement approval order was granted in the McLaren (Maritime Car Carriers) collective proceedings: see news item here.

Sarah Abram KC appeared for SSWT (instructed by Dentons).

Jonathan Scott has appeared for SSWT at earlier stages in the proceedings.

Jon Lawrence was instructed as an independent expert witness by the Class Representative and SSWT.