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First judgment on directors disqualification for competition breaches


The High Court (Chancery Division, Deputy Chief ICC Judge Baister) has given judgment in the first application under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 (CDDA) for leave to act as directors in the context of competition disqualification orders.  These are orders made by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) under its increasingly used powers to disqualify directors for competition law breaches under the CDDA as amended by the Enterprise Act 2002. 

Fourfront Group reached a settlement with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), admitting cover pricing in breach of the Competition Act 1998 in the CMA’s ‘Design, Construction and Fit Out Services’ investigation. Three Fourfront directors accepted disqualification undertakings.  Two of them applied to the court for limited leave to continue to act as directors of certain entities within the Fourfront Group, pursuant to section 17 of the CDDA.  The Court has given judgment granting them leave, subject to conditions, and commenting on applications of this kind in the context of competition infringements compared with other examples of unfitness leading to disqualification (including as to the nature of the conduct and adequacy of competition compliance measures). 

The judgment is here.

Maya Lester QC acted for the directors on the competition directors’ disqualification orders (Christopher Buckley of Radcliffe Chambers acted for them in relation to leave to act), instructed by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.