Wragges sees off Thames Water in MoD costs dispute


& Co’s dispute resolution group has won a test case challenging the legality of Thames Water Utility’s charging system for sewerage services.

The Birmingham-based firm advised the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on its successful claim against Thames Water before the High Court, which ruled in favour of the MoD last month.

The MoD claimed it was billed for services Thames Water did not provide. Thames Water charged the MoD for sewerage services based on the assumption that an equivalent volume of sewerage left the site as the volume of water entering it.

Lead partner Andrew Manning Cox said the case was an important point of principle for the MoD and had set a precedent for other customers to recover overpayments.
“[We] were determined to win this case,” he said. “Customers should not have to pay for services they have not received.”

The case is the second in two months for Wragges’ regulatory and commercial litigation lawyers, who also won a judicial review battle for Postwatch in December 2005. It was the first time a statutory consumer council had undertaken a judicial review of an industry regulator.