The Lawyer identifies Power Cable follow-on cartel claim among the Top 20 litigation for 2022
Each year The Lawyer identifies the Top 20 cases to watch in the courts for the upcoming year. This is the 5th time since 2017 that cases litigated by Hausfeld lawyers have been earmarked among the most significant to watch.
The upcoming 3-week trial in Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds and others v Prysmian Cavi e Sistemi Srl and ors set in the Competition Appeal Tribunal for June 2022 is no exception.
The Lawyer states: “As green technology gains traction, disputes arising out of projects in this area are going to become more and more of a theme.”
This is a multi-million competition damages claim arising out of the European Commission’s finding of a long-running worldwide cartel in the high-voltage power cables sector. It concerns the supplies of submarine power cables for a UK wind farm project known as the Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm, which was built at a cost of around £1.3bn and was the world’s largest wind farm at the time it was constructed. The case raises unique and complex questions surrounding the regulatory regime for offshore transmission networks which have the potential to shape the legal landscape.
The Hausfeld team represents the developer of the Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm together with one of its shareholders, SSE plc - one of the UK’s largest electricity network companies. They claim damages from Prysmian, a worldwide cable manufacturer involved in the cartel, for alleged overcharges on the power cables supplies for the wind farm.
Whilst other follow-on damages claims stemming from the same European Commission decision have been brought, this case raises unique and complex questions surrounding the regulatory regime for offshore transmission networks which have a significant impact on the claim value. These issues, which will be tried for the first time, are likely to set a precedent for UK courts.
The claim in respect of the Greater Gabbard project (“GGOWL Claim”) was filed in March 2019 alongside a separate claim by SSE plc and other group companies against the same defendants (Prysmian) but in respect of underground power cable projects (“SSE Claim”). The two claims then progressed to one of the first remote case management conferences held in the Commercial Court in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic in April 2020, which resulted in a successful application for disclosure of a confidential version of the European Commission Decision, documents from the European Commission investigation file, and the transfer of the claims to the Competition Appeal Tribunal.