Competition chiefs win legal fight for more construction raids

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has won a legal challenge in the High Court after it was refused a domestic search warrant as part of a construction cartel investigation.

Last October the CMA applied for warrants to search business and domestic premises as part of its investigation into suspected anti-competitive conduct regarding the supply of chemical admixtures for use in the construction industry. The CMA conducted raids to gather evidence as part of its investigation.

While the Competition Appeal Tribunal granted warrants authorising the CMA to search three business premises in England and Scotland, it refused the warrant regarding the domestic property.

The CAT said it was necessary for the CMA to identify specific evidence demonstrating that an occupier of the property had a “propensity” to destroy physical or electronic documents held on their property – as their suspected involvement in a secret cartel was not enough.

Following an appeal, the High Court agreed with the CMA that the CAT had made an error in its application of the law.

Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive of the CMA, said: “We welcome this important ruling from the High Court, which found comprehensively in our favour on all three grounds.

“The original judgment by the Competition Appeal Tribunal risked seriously undermining our ability to enforce effectively against illegal cartels.

“With the increase in remote-working – and electronic communication – it’s essential that we are able to search domestic premises to secure evidence of potential breaches of competition law where appropriate to do so.”

Generated by Feedzy