Judgment (Liability)

Neutral citation:

[2017] CAT 10


26 May 2017



Judgment of the Tribunal in connection with a claim under section 47A of the Competition Act 1998 (“CA 98”) by Socrates Training Limited (“Socrates”) against The Law Society of England and Wales (the “Law Society”). By order of 16 May 2016, the Tribunal directed that the issue of liability be determined separately from any question of quantum.

The Conveyancing Quality Scheme (“CQS”) is a scheme operated by the Law Society which provides a form of accreditation for firms of solicitors engaged in residential conveyancing. For several years, the CQS has incorporated an element of mandatory training, including training in mortgage fraud and anti-money laundering (“AML”). Socrates is a provider of training courses, including training in AML for lawyers. By its claim, Socrates contended that the requirement under the terms of the CQS that members of the scheme must obtain certain training courses exclusively from the Law Society is an abuse of a dominant position contrary to the Chapter II prohibition in the CA 98 and/or an anti-competitive agreement contrary to the Chapter I prohibition in the CA 98.

For the reasons given in the Judgment, the Tribunal held that the Law Society has breached the Chapter I and Chapter II prohibitions from the end of April 2015 but not before.

This is an unofficial summary prepared by the Registry of the Competition Appeal Tribunal.