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Competition tribunal rejects Tesco's £1.5m costs claim

16 October 2009

Competition judges have condemned Tesco for running just under £1.5m in legal costs in its challenge to the introduction of a new competition test in planning applications.

Tesco’s total bill for the three-day hearing in March was £1,461,904. The sum included £240,000 for three expert witnesses, £711,156 in counsel fees, and more than £75,000 in copying charges. Drawing up the costs schedule came in at £12,089.

Costs for a separate relief hearing in April clocked up a further £203,590.

“The amount incurred is, by any standard, very large in the context of a judicial review the hearing of which occupied the tribunal for three days,” said Competition Tribunal president Mr Justice Barling.

Although the case was an important one, the judge found it would not be just to impose costs at this level on the commission.

Ruling in Tesco v Competition Commission [2009] CAT 26, the tribunal made an award of £312,000 in Tesco’s favour, an amount equivalent to just over 21 per cent of Tesco costs.

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