May 16, 2024

CAT approves £25 million settlement in class action against Stagecoach South Western Trains

On May 10, 2024, the Competition Appeal Tribunal approved a joint application for a collective settlement to enable railway franchise Stagecoach South Western Trains Limited (“SSWT”) to resolve a class action lawsuit for approximately £25 million.  Justin Gutmann, the class representative who brought this lawsuit and other cases currently before the Tribunal, filed the case in 2019 alleging that SSWT and other defendants violated section 18 of the Competition Act 1998 by abusing their dominant position in the rail service market, and by overcharging their passengers.  Gutmann claims that certain railway franchises, including SSWT, failed to make “boundary fares” or “extension tickets” sufficiently available for purchase by customers, or failed to make customers aware of these boundary fares.  Boundary fares allow passengers to travel beyond certain covered zones without having to pay double for the service; Gutmann argues that the railways’ failures resulted in double charges for many passengers.

The settlement only ends the case against SSWT.  The suit against the other defendants will continue.  According to the CAT, it will take multiple trials to resolve these claims.  The first trial, set to begin on June 17, 2024, relates to the alleged abuse of dominance claim.  A second trial will resolve issues related to causation and quantification of damages, and it will be followed by a third trial that will deal with issues of market definition and dominance.

CAT Summary of SSWT Settlement | Judgment | CAT Case Page