5 November 2013
On 5 November, the High Court granted injunctions against Barclays in two curious cases concerning ‘refusals to supply’ banking services to money service businesses. It was alleged that Barclays’ withdrawal of the services in question amounted to an abuse of its dominant position.
The Court found that there was a serious issue to be tried on whether Barclays was dominant in the relevant market and that the question of abuse was an issue for trial. It was found to be unclear that Barclays would succeed in its defence that the withdrawal was objectively justified and proportionate in view of its objective of reducing its exposure to money service businesses. In considering the balance of convenience, the Court found that damages were an inadequate remedy as the Claimants had not been able to acquire comparable services from another bank and would face serious consequences as a result of Barclays’ ‘refusal to supply’. Furthermore, it found that it was unlikely that Barclays would suffer any pecuniary loss as a result of the injunction, and in any event the Claimants had offered a cross-undertaking to cover such loss. As such, the Court held that the balance of convenience lay with the Claimants and the injunctions were granted; Barclays was required to reinstate the provision of services to the Claimants pending the trial on the merits. A copy of the judgment can be found here.