Richards Butler wins judicial review application for GNER against ORR

Richards Butler has succeeded in an application for judicial review on behalf of the Great North Eastern Railway (GNER) against the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).

On 27 July Mr Justice Sullivan granted GNER’s request for a judicial review into the ORR’s decision to grant access rights for the East Coast Main Line to Hull Trains and the Grand Central Railway Company.

However, GNER failed in its claims that the ORR’s decision amounted to discrimination and was an unlawful grant of state aid.

Sullivan J said: “There is… no unfairness to GNER in concluding that it could and should have challenged the charging regime at an earlier stage, even in the context of Grand Central’s application for track access rights; whereas there would be considerable unfairness to Grand Central if GNER was now to be granted any relief, which would have the effect of having rendered the application process pointless from the outset.”

Richards Butler partner Belinda Paisley instructed Matrix Chambers’ Rabinder Singh QC for GNER. The ORR was represented by Norton Rose partner Sam Eastwood, instructing Rhodri Thompson QC, also of Matrix.

Hull Trains was represented by Burges Salmon partner and solicitor-advocate Clive Fletcher-Wood. Grand Central Railway Company instructed White & Case‘s Tom Winsor, previously the UK’s Rail Regulator, and Brick Court Chambers’ Aidan Robertson.