Rooting for the underdog is a very British pastime. But, to be honest, when the other side of the argument is being put forward by Ryanair, it’s pretty much a no-brainer whose side most people would choose.
The Office of Fair Trading is soon to depart this world for the great quango graveyard in the sky after a run of high court defeats, but surcharge specialist Ryanair nonetheless attempted to give the weakened watchdog one more kick towards the bucket by rejecting its attempts to examine the budget airline’s part-ownership of rival Aer Lingus.
But in a turn-up for the books, brand new Monckton Chambers silk Daniel Beard – with a little help from Linklaters and Aer Lingus – overcame Blackstone Chambers’ Lord Pannick QC and Covington & Burling to send Ryanair packing (see story)in the Court of Appeal.
In essence, Ryanair was arguing that the OFT had waited too long (three years) to scrutinise the competition issues surrounding its part-ownership of Aer Lingus. But the Court of Appeal said that the OFT was right to wait that long as it was only allowing the European Commission time to complete its investigations first.
Hopefully the Court of Appeal made a costs order for a speedy exit. And if the verdict made Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary sick to his stomach, it’s only £1 to use the toilet.