Regulatory disputes in the consumer sector

Businesses who deal with consumers will generally wish to have a good relationship with Government, regulators and other public authorities. However, there are times when a company’s interests are such that they come into conflict. At those times companies may wish to consider how that conflict might be resolved if it were to reach court … Read more

Important decision on privilege in a regulatory context

In a judgment handed down yesterday, the Court of Appeal found that an audit client could not be compelled to produce its privileged documents to its auditor’s regulator: Sports Direct International plc v The Financial Reporting Council [2020] EWCA Civ 177. The case concerned the construction of the Financial Reporting Council’s (“FRC“) information-gathering powers (specifically … Read more

Artificial Intelligence in the Public Sector – a new regulatory field?

The Committee on Standards in Public Life (the “Committee”) has published a report on artificial intelligence (“AI”) and its impact on public standards following the Committee’s review into this fast-developing field (the “Report”).  The Report sets out the Committee’s recommendations for the governance and regulation of AI in the public sector, aimed at ensuring high … Read more

The FRC and enforcement action – what next?

Over the last year, three key reports have been published on the future of the audit and accountancy professions. These reports together propose significant reforms to audit and the manner in which it is regulated, including the replacement of the Financial Reporting Council (the “FRC”) with a new regulator with enhanced powers.  While the reviews … Read more

On a power trip? High Court finds Secretary of State acted ultra vires

In R. (on the application of VIP Communications Ltd) (In Liquidation) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWHC 994 (Admin), the High Court quashed a direction given by the Secretary of State to Ofcom, which purported to limit the use of telecoms devices known as “GSM Gateways” on national security grounds. The Court held … Read more

Leave it to the experts? High Court finds more expected from regulators on matters where they lack expertise

The Administrative Court in R. (on the application of Gwynt-y-Môr Offshore Wind Farm Ltd) v Gas and Electricity Markets Authority [2019] EWHC 654 (Admin) has criticised a regulator for failing to sufficiently analyse the differences between precedents and the case at hand and for failing to properly consider the views of the independent expert that it had commissioned. … Read more

Difficulties in challenging regulatory action demonstrated again by High Court

In Npower Direct Ltd v the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority and the Competition Markets Authority [2018] EWHC 3576 (Admin), the High Court dismissed Npower’s claim for judicial review of a Direction by the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (“Ofgem“) that Npower was required to circulate information to its customers designed to make them consider Npower’s terms … Read more

Unreasonable timetable set by regulator quashed for unfairness

In J Sainsbury plc and Asda Group Limited v Competition and Markets Authority[2019] CAT 1, 18 January 2019 the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) granted an application made jointly by Sainsbury’s and Asda (the “Applicants”) in respect of two decisions by a regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”), regarding the timetable for an investigation into their proposed … Read more