Competition Appeal Tribunal rejects Apple’s attempt to weaken collective lawsuit

In a significant development for millions who use Apple’s UK App Store, the Competition Appeal Tribunal has refused Apple’s attempt to limit the consumer claim led by Dr Rachael Kent, which alleges abuses of competition law that result in systematic overcharging for apps and in-app purchases by Apple.

At a court hearing in May 2022, Apple attempted to argue that the aspect of Dr Kent’s claim which alleges that Apple’s 30% commission is unfair and excessive should not be allowed to proceed, on the basis that Dr Kent had applied the wrong legal test and her claim was therefore defective. But in a judgment handed down in late June, the Tribunal dismissed all of Apple’s arguments, and in doing so, rejected Apple’s attempt to limit Dr Kent’s claim.

Dr Kent’s legal claim will now proceed in full to trial, putting added pressure on Apple amid mounting efforts around the world to hold it to account for alleged anticompetitive practices. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority and the European Commission are separately investigating Apple’s conduct in the App Store. The company is also facing regulatory action in the Netherlands, Australia, South Korea, India and elsewhere.

Dr Kent is represented by Lesley Hannah, Luke Streatfeild, Sofie Edwards, Kio Gwilliam, Anna Stellardi and Antonio Delussu at law firm Hausfeld & Co. LLP, with barristers Ronit Kreisberger QC and Michael Armitage from Monckton Chambers, Mark Hoskins QC, Jennifer MacLeod and Matthew Kennedy from Brick Court Chambers, and George McDonald from 4 New Square. Dr Kent has also instructed expert economist Derek Holt from AlixPartners UK LLP.

Vannin Capital is funding the claim.