fivehundred magazine > Disputes Yearbook 2024 > Train tickets cases

Train tickets cases

Gutmann v Govia Thameslink Railway, Govia Ltd, The Go-Ahead Group, Keolis Ltd, MTR South Western, Stagecoach South Western, London & South Eastern Railway, and Secretary of State for Transport

The train tickets cases continue to move through the courts, with trial one set to take place in June and July. Issues linked to the alleged dominance abuse will be heard in this trial, with quantification of damages left to be heard in trial two, following in June 2025. The claim is expected to total over £166m in damages across all claims.

The claim rests on whether people in possession of a travelcard that was valid for a London portion of a journey were effectively overcharged when paying a full fare for a journey leaving London, due to the rail franchise operators not making boundary fares obvious. The alleged behaviour, it is argued, would constitute an abuse of the companies’ dominant market position, and breach UK competition laws. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer competition litigator and London managing partner Mark Sansom explains the case as indicative of a wider trend. ‘It’s one of those consumer-type complaints, it’s not really a conventional antitrust issue, but there are a lot of them now,’ with the trial addressing whether the complaint is capable of constituting an abuse in a competition law sense.

For Justin Gutmann: Philip Moser KC, Stefan Kuppen and Alexandra Littlewood (Monckton Chambers) instructed by Hausfeld and Charles Lyndon

For London & South Eastern Railway and Govia Thameslink Railway: Paul Harris KC, Anneliese Blackwood, Michael Armitage and Clíodhna Kelleher (Monckton Chambers) instructed by Mark Sansom and Nicholas Frey (Freshfields)

For First MTR: Tim Ward KC and James Bourke (Monckton Chambers) instructed by Slaughter and May

For Stagecoach South Western Trains: Sarah Abram KC and Jonathan Scott (Brick Court Chambers) instructed by Dentons

For the interveners: Anneli Howard KC, Brendan McGurk KC and Khatija Hafesji (Monckton Chambers)