A Leage of Their Own: Landmark Supreme Court Judgement Clears Irish league Credit Unions of Abuse of Dominance.
In a unanimous judgment handed down on 8th May 2007, the Irish Supreme Court upheld an appeal by the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) against a High Court judgment that ILCU had abused a dominant position. The Irish Competition Authority had alleged that ILCU had abused its dominant position in the market for savings protection services (SPS) by limiting access to SPS services to its own members. The Authority claimed that credit unions wishing to obtain SPS services were required to also purchase credit union representation services from ILCU and that such tying amounted to an abuse of dominance by ILCU. This was the first abuse of dominance case brought by the Irish Competition Authority to go to a full hearing, the first to be appealed to the Supreme Court and the first Irish case under EC Regulation 1/2003. The case raised a number of interesting economic issues, which are of interest in the context of the debate on the need for a more economics based approach to Article 82. It has also resulted in some significant innovations in the hearing of competition cases by the Irish courts.
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