Monday, February 05, 2007

BHB Court of Appeal victory against At The Races

The British Horseracing Board announced that the Court of Appeal has ‘completely overturned’ a December 2005 High Court judgment obtained by At The Races, which found that BHB’s business practices in the supply of pre-race data constituted an abuse of a dominant position.

For an analysis of the initial High Court judgment by Neil Baylis and Martin King of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP (now K&L Gates), search for ‘Competition Law: At The Races v BHB: abusing a dominant position’ on World Sports Law Report’s internet site.

According to the BHB, ‘the Court of Appeal found that BHB’s business practices did not involve excessive or discriminatory pricing, nor did they amount to a refusal to supply and therefore were not abusive’.

‘If left unchallenged, the first instance judgment would have had far reaching implications beyond Racing, not least that organisations in a position similar to BHB’s would have had effectively had their prices regulated by the courts’, said BHB acting Chief Executive Chris Brand in a statement.

Arena Leisure, which owns television channel ATR, issued a statement confirming that At The Races plans to appeal to the House of Lords.

‘Given the emphatic nature of the ruling in ATR's favour back in December 2005 and following successful injunction proceedings before the Vice Chancellor earlier in 2005, we are very surprised and disappointed with the Court of Appeal's ruling today’, said Matthew Imi, Chief Executive of ATR. ‘We continue to believe that the BHB's treatment of ATR which triggered legal proceedings was unfair, discriminatory and abusive and, given the clear public interest element in this landmark case, we will be seeking leave to appeal to the House of Lords’.

Andy Brown

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