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EXCLUSIVE: Agents’ Mutual and Gascoigne Halman return to court to fight it out again

Court of Appeal is to hear Gascoigne Halman's challenge to the original Competition Appeal Tribunal ruling last year which cleared AM of any anti-competitive activity.

Nigel Lewis

Gascoigne Halman image

Agents’ Mutual and estate agent Gascoigne Halman are to lock horns once more in the courts in two week’s time, The Negotiator can reveal.

The Court of Appeal has disclosed that the two sides are due in court on November 27th for a three day hearing after Gascoigne Halman, which is owned by Connells, was given leave to challenge the original Competition Appeal Tribunal adjudication which took place in July last year.

That found that Agents’ Mutual, which since the court case has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of OnTheMarket plc, was entirely legal in its pursuit of a then strictly enforced ‘one other portal rule’ which has since been dropped, and also its exclusion of online-only and hybrid agents and its listings’ ‘exclusivity’.

The three judges also did not find that Agents’ Mutual had pursued any kind of concerted ‘boycott’ of Zoopla, as had been suggested during the original 10-day hearing.

Agents’ Mutual

“In July 2017, judgement was handed down by the Competition Appeal Tribunal in favour of Agents’ Mutual and against Gascoigne Halman Limited on all competition issues; the One Other Portal rule was upheld as lawful and enforceable and Agents’ Mutual was awarded £1.2m as an interim payment towards its litigation costs,” an Agents’ Mutual spokesperson told The Negotiator.

“In December 2017, having had an application to appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal refused, Gascoigne Halman Ltd was granted leave to appeal the judgement of the Competition Appeal Tribunal at the Court of Appeal.

“Having taken appropriate legal advice, the Company remains confident that the judgement of the Competition Appeal Tribunal will be upheld. As litigation is ongoing, we have no further comment to make at this stage.”

The Negotiator contacted Connells for comment, but when this article went live had not yet received a response.

A separate case over the matter of ‘breach of contract’ between the two parties is currently stuck in the High Court.

 

November 12, 2018

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