Ashurst, Kentridge victory sees BSkyB ordered to pay Virgin £40,000

Ashurst, along with Brick Court Chambers silk Sir Sydney Kentridge QC, has scored a Court of Appeal win that will see television company BSkyB pay rival Virgin costs of £40,000.

Last November Virgin took action against BSkyB, claiming it abused its dominant market position after acquiring a 17.9 per cent share in ITV. This resulted in proceedings in the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) and the High Court.

BSkyB went to the Court of Appeal because it objected to the fact that three lawyers acting for Virgin in the CAT – Ashurst partners Ben Tidswell and Nigel Parr and Brick Court silk Nicholas Green QC – were also representing Virgin in the High Court.

The three appellant judges, led by Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips, dismissed the notion that disclosure in the CAT case, which is at a later stage than the High Court proceedings, could influence the Virgin lawyers in the High Court case.

Phillips LCJ held it is desirable that a litigant be free to instruct the lawyer of their choice and ordered BSkyB to pay Virgin’s costs.

Ian Glick QC of One Essex Court led Kelyn Bacon of Brick Court Chambers for BSkyB, instructed by Herbert Smith. Ashurst instructed Kentridge as lead counsel, with Gerard Rothschild, also of Brick Court, acting as junior for Virgin.